Is the Universe Expanding?

Written by Oliver K. Manuel


The universe is expanding here and probably in the region of other ordinary stars in the cosmos, but the process is reversible. Decades of measurements on the tiny portion of the universe available for study in the solar system revealed internal expansion of a fundamental particle in the process that powers the sun and sustains life: Neutron => Hydrogen Atom. The dynamic process is restrained by competition between attractive forces of gravity and repulsive forces between neutrons. The volume of the neutron increases by about a factor of 1023 when it goes from the compact solar core to become an interstellar atom of hydrogen. The hypothesis that all elements are made from hydrogen in ordinary stars, and the later finding that ordinary stars can transition into neutron stars, suggest that the universe and all of the atoms in it can be represented by cyclic, reversible transitions between two forms of one fundamental particle: Neutron <=> Hydrogen Atom.

expanding universe


Atomic weight measurements on the elements persuaded Prout (1815, 1816) almost two centuries ago that hydrogen is the fundamental building block of all other elements because their atomic weights appeared to be integral multiples of the atomic weight of hydrogen. Prout’s hypothesis was later found to be inconsistent with more precise measurements of the atomic weights of some elements, like neon and chlorine. This dilemma was resolved by discoveries of the neutron (Chadwick, 1932a,b) and of isotopes like – 20Ne, 22Ne, 35Cl and 37Cl – with atomic weights that are individually close to integral multiples of the atomic weight of hydrogen’s most abundant isotope, 1H (Aston, 1920). After Hoyle (1946) adopted and promoted the idea that other elements are made in stars from hydrogen, the concept of primordial hydrogen became an integral part of the story of stellar nucleosynthesis (e.g., Burbidge et al., 1957).

Baade and Zwicky (1934) suggested that ordinary stars might collapse and transition into neutron stars. Oppenheimer and Volkoff (1939) advanced this idea and predicted that a neutron star of mass (m) would be stable only in the mass range of 1/3 Mo < m < 3/4 Mo, where Mo is one solar mass.


Nuclear rest mass data and other data from measurements of solar neutrinos and variations in the abundances of chemical elements and their isotopes in meteorites, planets, the Moon and solar emissions over the past five decades have been interpreted as evidence that solar luminosity, solar neutrinos and the solar wind are produced by a series of four reactions, triggered by neutron repulsion in the solar core (Manuel, 2011 and references therein):

  1. Neutron-emission from the solar core;
  2. Neutron-decay to hydrogen;
  3. Partial fusion of hydrogen into helium; and
  4. Discharge of solar wind hydrogen and helium with traces of severely mass-fractionated heavier elements from the Sun’s iron-rich mantle.

The volume of the particle increases by a factor of about 1015 in the decay of a neutron into a hydrogen atom – Step 2. Since the “average distance between the interstellar atoms is roughly 108 times larger than the size of the atoms themselves” (Zeilik, 1982, page 361), the volume occupied by the hydrogen atom in Step 2 will eventually be increased by a factor of ~ 108 in Step 4, after the solar wind transfers it to the interstellar medium. Thus the volume occupied by a neutron in the core of the Sun increases by a factor of about 1015 x 108 = 1023 in the process that powers the Sun and releases hydrogen to the interstellar medium as a waste product. The empirical evidence for expansion of fundamental particles in the Sun does not necessarily support the popular view of an expanding universe, initiated by an initial “Big Bang” (e.g., Peebles et al., 1991; Wollack, 2011, and references cited there), because:

  1. The expansion of material in the solar system may be counterbalanced by the contraction of material elsewhere.
  2. The process that powers the Sun – dynamic competition between the attractive force of gravity and the repulsive force between neutrons – is reversible in nature (Baade and Zwicky, 1934; Oppenheimer and Volkoff, 1939; Manuel et al., 2006; Manuel, 2011).

However, the local expansion of material in the solar system is probably replicated in many other ordinary stars and may therefore be part of the overall expansion of the universe (e.g., Peebles et al., 1991; Wollack, 2011). None of the observations cited in Manuel (2011) conflict with the idea that the Sun is like other stars.

Since one referee commented that nobody knows what most stars are like, I will explain next why observations on the Sun – an ordinary star – may imply the behavior of other ordinary stars and an overall expansion of the universe. For decades university and college textbooks on astronomy have suggested that the Sun is an ordinary star that conveniently serves as a model for more distant stars (Strobe, 2010; Zeilik, 1982):

“By studying the sun, we not only learn about the properties of a particular star but also can study the details of processes that undoubtedly take place in more distant stars as well.” (Pasachoff, 1977, p. 129).

Local expansion in the volume of individual particles in the Sun and other ordinary stars does not necessarily indicate a finite universe and an initial “Big Bang”, even if dynamic competition between attractive forces of gravity and repulsive forces between neutrons powers the entire cosmos. The direction of nuclear evolution may reverse when the supply of compact, neutron-rich objects is depleted to the point that neutron repulsion can no longer successfully compete against gravitational attraction.


The restless universe and all ordinary matter in it appear to consist of two different forms of one fundamental particle, compacted and expanded:

Neutrons <=> Hydrogen Atoms


Nuclear Form <=> Atomic Form

Dynamic competition between attractive forces of gravity and repulsive forces between neutrons maintains both forms. The transfer of material from the compacted left side of the above equation to the expanded right side presently sustains solar luminosity and life itself. If other ordinary stars behave like the sun and collectively contribute to the expansion of the universe, the expansion may cease and the universe start to contract after neutron stars in the cores of ordinary stars have evaporated away.

The two forms of one fundamental particle that describe the universe and all of the atoms in it are intriguingly similar to the description in Sanskrit of “eternal, formless Reality” (Lord Krishna) as Vistharah, “he who has expanded himself” and Sthavarasthanuh, “he who is completely still” (Easwaran, 1979, page 11), i.e., Sthavarasthanuh <=> Visthara.

First published in Journal of Cosmology, 2011, Vol 13, 4187-4190.