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A universe is all matter, energy, and space in a space-time continuum; e.g., the three dimensions of space governed by the fourth dimension of time. Our universe is filled with large clusters of stars and other material, known as galaxies, which are grouped together and held in place by gravity. Other universe may be subjected to different laws of physics and thus, may-or may not-have similar characteristics to our own; the antimatter universe for example, is made of antimatter rather than matter. Fluidic space is much more dense, so much so that it does not have alternate timelines. (VOY novel: Places of Exile; TOS episode: "The Alternative Factor")
A universe, such as our own, may feature alternate realities, these are generated every time an event generates multiple possible outcomes; each outcome is played out in a different timeline. These timelines collectively make up the entire universe. The terms "alternate universe" or "parallel universe" are sometimes also used to refer to alternate realities, however such usage is inaccurate; a universe is a distinct separate place, divided from other universes by higher dimensions, while an alternate reality is merely a different quantum facet of any one universe, with the same laws of physics, just different histories. (VOY novel: Places of Exile)
On Stardate 2135.9 the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise was witness to an event the ship's science officer, Commander Spock, theorized to be similar to the conditions prior to the big bang. It was the result of an incursion of a new parallel universe into the existing universe. When asked about it by Captain Kirk Commander Spock brought up a theory dating back to the 20th century that suggests a multiverse composed of an infinite number of layers, each 'membrane' occupying the same physical space but at different vibrational frequencies. According to this theory it was possible for two adjacent membranes to briefly synchronize with the resulting intersection giving birth to a new universe, but expunging a possible older universe that existed before.(TOS comic: "Mister Chekov")
It had been learned by the 24th century that certain laws of the universe are shaped not only by the will of its occupants, but also by the collective, sub-conscious memories and general acceptance (regarding its "realness") of it. (TNG episodes: "Where No One Has Gone Before", "Remember Me")
Modern logic cannot yet prove (or disprove) that the whole, known universe-thus reality itself-is comprised of even higher, more complex levels of existence. Astronomers, metaphysicists and philosophers throughout galactic history have all agreed these cosmic "strings" can be pulled and sensed under the right conditions. (TOS movie: The Motion Picture, TNG episode: "Where Silence Has Lease", DS9 episode: "Chrysalis")
Q, in private with Lwaxana Troi, used a fruit to describe the nature of the universe. After asking him if it was this simple, Q told the Betazoid he was taking a chance revealing this secret, as the Q Continuum forbade such knowledge to non-entities. He also said that as complex as the cosmos was to one such as herself, this was the only model Q could use that Lwaxana would nearly grasp. (TNG novel: Q-in-Law)
|multiverse • universe • galaxy|
|Galactic regions:||quadrant • sector • cluster • nebula • star system|
|System bodies:||star • planet • planetoid • dwarf planet • asteroid • meteoroid • comet|