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Somewhat, Yes, No, And No.

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Posted by Paul Johanson on August 16, 2002 20:59:09 UTC

We can make some assumptions about where things are now, but a million (or billion) years is a long time. The value of any estimate is questionable at best.

We can extrapolate back in time and know the location of the Milky Way relative to other nearby galaxies.

It is not possible to know where the Big Bang occurred. Time and space did not exist prior to that event, and so the question of where it occurred is moot.

There is no universal reference point. The universe is both isotropic and homogenous - it appears the same to all observers regardless of their location. From our viewpoint in the Milky Way we see nearly all other galaxies rushing away from us. An observer in Andromeda would see the same thing.

This is the cornerstone of Einstein's general theory of relativity, and another reason why it is not possible to identify the "site" of the Big Bang. Our location in the universe is in no way preferred over any other.

Very, very good questions.

Paul

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