# How to measure empty space

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
how do you measure amount of space/nothingness,

is it quantifiable or unquantifialbe
what parameter can be used?

for example: how to measure the amount of "space" in the sky?

do standard measurements like mass, volume, energy, pressure, distance, area apply to this

standardized measurements is one of the things that gave birth to modern science, so I am thinking if empty space or void has amount or quantity that is measurable.

is the amount of empty space in an empty room equal to the room's volume, or is it something else?

#### elliptoid

##### the void is a lie
Good question!

To start make sure you are familiar with the Planck Length and then move onto mass-energy equivalence and uncertainty. At least have a layperson understanding of these entry level principles.

Then yes your answer is most certainly area or volume depending on the dimensionality of the projection you're using.

Measuring astronomical distances is very intricate and exciting process too. Learn about the parsec to understand more.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
Good question!

To start make sure you are familiar with the Planck Length and then move onto mass-energy equivalence and uncertainty. At least have a layperson understanding of these entry level principles.

Then yes your answer is most certainly area or volume depending on the dimensionality of the projection you're using.

Measuring astronomical distances is very intricate and exciting process too. Learn about the parsec to understand more.

let me think about that and do some research.

Is mass, energy, volume, distance, area not applicable in measuring space and nothing?

#### QuickTwist

##### Spiritual "Woo"
You can't measure space in a vacuum. You have to measure it in relation to objects that fill up that space. You have to have a total space amount and then find the area for the objects within that space and then subtract from the total space. At least this is what makes sense to me, but I might not really know what you are asking.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
You can't measure space in a vacuum. You have to measure it in relation to objects that fill up that space. You have to have a total space amount and then find the area for the objects within that space and then subtract from the total space. At least this is what makes sense to me, but I might not really know what you are asking.

you just say the exact opposite of what i mean.

if you can't measure how much black space and emptiness, how can the amount of empty space in the universe be measured?

#### Minute Squirrel

##### magician
I imagine it would depend on what kind of empty space you are talking about. If we're using the room example then it would be relayed terms volume. But ultimately I don't think we can measure it directly as our current understanding is that things fill empty space which is infinite. The universe is filling up empty space but there's still empty space inside it. Like if a jar would suddenly appear it would fill up an empty space while still having an empty space inside it as well.

#### Ex-User (14663)

##### Prolific Member
Just figure out the geometry of the space (e.g. Euclidean) and take measurements along its dimensions. Don't really see the problem.

#### kanteravir

##### Redshirt
Space is never entirely empty. Different patches of empty space can be measured to have a different energy density.
Is mass, energy, volume, distance, area not applicable in measuring space and nothing?
Space can be measured for existence of those properties, or their lack.

-How much space lacks energy defines how much of the energy can still fit inside of it, same with mass. Mass is non-linearly proportional to energy.
-Volume and area are directly proportional to distance. The relation is cubic and quadratic respectively. Or you could think in terms of diagonals, square roots of 3 and 2.
-Each unit of space can hold a finite amount of mass-energy ratio which is its energy density.

Space is something which can have properties, emptiness is the local value of those properties and to get a perception of the magnitude of the observed properties some places in space need to be different from others and compared against.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
i now define space as the amount of "stuff/void" between two positions (cordinates).
if the amount of stuff is between two position is zero, than space= 0 .

can anyone define what space is?

#### The Grey Man

##### τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει
Lots of people with big brains have tried, with mixed success.

There are mainly two schools of thought: the realistic school, typified by Newton, which says that space is the unbounded container of all natural objects whatsoever; and the idealistic school, represented by Leibniz, which says that space as the sum of the relations of distance between those objects.

Kant manages to be both a realist and an idealist regarding space by equivocating on what space is (his heroic determination to publish his doctrine before his weak constitution became his undoing apparently could not make him into a good writer, much to the exasperation of every philosopher who has tried to continue his work). In the first part of his principal epistemological work, he calls space a pure form of perception in which all objects are contained, as Newton said, but in another part he calls it the synthesis of the manifold provided by the sensibility, which sounds more like Leibniz.

I think that the question of whether objects are in space or space connects objects is undecidable, inevitably resulting in Kant calls an "antinomy," a situation in which two contradictory theses are equally defensible. This neatly explains why three big brains could believe the one thesis, the other, and both. Matter is no accident of form, nor form of matter, but both are complementary aspects of the same thing.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
Lots of people with big brains have tried, with mixed success.

There are mainly two schools of thought: the realistic school, typified by Newton, which says that space is the unbounded container of all natural objects whatsoever; and the idealistic school, represented by Leibniz, which says that space as the sum of the relations of distance between those objects.

Kant manages to be both a realist and an idealist regarding space by equivocating on what space is (his heroic determination to publish his doctrine before his weak constitution became his undoing apparently could not make him into a good writer, much to the exasperation of every philosopher who has tried to continue his work). In the first part of his principal epistemological work, he calls space a pure form of perception in which all objects are contained, as Newton said, but in another part he calls it the synthesis of the manifold provided by the sensibility, which sounds more like Leibniz.

I think that the question of whether objects are in space or space connects objects is undecidable, inevitably resulting in Kant calls an "antinomy," a situation in which two contradictory theses are equally defensible. This neatly explains why three big brains could believe the one thesis, the other, and both. Matter is no accident of form, nor form of matter, but both are complementary aspects of the same thing.

I need to study what they wrote more. It seems to the past philosphers like kant and newton already try to define it.

i want to know whether space is really shapeless and formless, or does it have specific shape area or form.

#### travelnjones

##### Active Member
If you are talking about the Mass Energy universe I would say time. Though degradation (red shift) of frequency would be similar. This assumes a finite yet unbound system and that constant is constant. As to density there is variation dependent on proximity to stars. I have heard that measured in molecules per cubic foot.

#### Pizzabeak

##### Banned
Reality is made out of language and meaning, although the scientific models still describe things (phenomena) pretty well. We have the concept of vacuum, which is similar to the Eastern concept of void (non-scientific term, more spiritual or philosophical than anything else). It can be quantified in either energy density or gravitational potential. Exotic matter (dark or non-baryonic matter) could complicate it more these days, since when I was a kid over twenty years ago we didn't really know what it is. You would still be able to measure a vacuum, though.

Measuring the amount of space in the sky is really only important to specialists in the field of cosmology. You could very well take the masses of galaxies and approximate the empty space in between, including subatomic and virtual particles such as neutrinos and gravitons or anti-matter, and anything giving off friction as energy adds to the total of all that.

We know some of the shape of space because of the cosmic microwave background radiation, which is a notion that supports the Big Bang. The variation in spatial density indicates non homogeneity, or the result of the cooling of extremely hot, plasma temperatures, based on the initial settings of the universe.

Leibniz had a more philosophical approach to space whereas Newton solidified the science aspect of it. We know that Newton laid the foundations of absolute space down in the late 17th century before Einstein updated it, saying it is relative, in 1905-1915. Leibniz said it was spatially relational, which sounds relative, and this is the aspect people talk about when they say Einstein plagiarized relativity.

Absolute or relative space could mean everything is one. According to Leibniz, if space consists of relational points between objects, God would have had to think where to put the universe, as opposed to any other location. How important would that be? The opposite would be that it wouldn't so much matter, if there was no direction in space, any other place the universe in would basically be the same. We wouldn't be able to shift to a different universe.

It's illustrated in the bucket of water example, wherein if you spin it it accelerates, and the water doesn't spin until a certain velocity is reached. Space is the water and universe the bucket. Leibniz said you could move the whole bucket. Newton said the water only moves if the bucket does, and that the bucket doesn't necessarily exist.

Newton's 1st Law of Motion: Inertia - an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and one at rest tends to remain at rest, as they were, unless acted on by forces, such as friction.

2nd Law - F=ma

3rd Law - Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In order to move a boulder, one must apply more energy to it than its mass contains.

Air is really another layer, above the ocean - it's an ocean of air that we breathe, oxygen and carbon/CO2, because we can't breathe water anymore (no gills). Space is a lack of it. We are, in a sense, still connected through that. Space could be more equilibrium in an environment. A core, planetary or stellar, is a huge mass exerting gravitational influence. It warps spacetime causing it to sink. In one sense, it's what's on the other side if any two points in space could be connected. It wouldn't be the most efficient way of transferring information, so to speak.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
The question is is space shapeless, formeless and massless? the three properties that define matter and object (shape, area, form mass)

there is no deep investigation of the true nature and properties of pace and nothing is after and newton and lenbiz, although einstein sort of refrence it in aether, which he later killed.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
how to define space and nothing:

we can only define space by what it includes inside, and its size and boundary.

the space inside a room is defined by all the stuff, matter energy, and emptiness included in room.

but some claim space is boundless, so i would again differentiation, bounded space, and unbounded space.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
what is quality of empty space and nothing

space seemed to be either one of these properties:

physical and untouchable
non physical and touchable
physical and touchable
non physical and untouchable

touchable as in able to interact with other matter, bodies, and substances

if it is touchable, it would imply it is tangible as well.

my conjecture is that it non physical and touchable.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
i conclude it depends on whether space is a linear function or non linear function

non linear as means there is curvature, while linear as in made of straight lines

#### nEIght

##### Redshirt
if space/nothingness is 100% nothing, and nothing is the absence of anything (absolute negative capability), which we can’t measure or detect since nothing is there, especially when our only tools for detection are non-born things (science, words).

following that logic space/nothing is kinda feeling like it is non-physical and untouchable.

How to measure it? Short answer is IDK and my guess is we probably won’t ever need to know. What we do need is more clarity about the QUALITY(s) of space and/or how it interacts with touchable things. Any MOQ fanboys out there? This is right up Pirsig’s alley

#### Grayman

Lots of people with big brains have tried, with mixed success.

There are mainly two schools of thought: the realistic school, typified by Newton, which says that space is the unbounded container of all natural objects whatsoever; and the idealistic school, represented by Leibniz, which says that space as the sum of the relations of distance between those objects.

Kant manages to be both a realist and an idealist regarding space by equivocating on what space is (his heroic determination to publish his doctrine before his weak constitution became his undoing apparently could not make him into a good writer, much to the exasperation of every philosopher who has tried to continue his work). In the first part of his principal epistemological work, he calls space a pure form of perception in which all objects are contained, as Newton said, but in another part he calls it the synthesis of the manifold provided by the sensibility, which sounds more like Leibniz.

I think that the question of whether objects are in space or space connects objects is undecidable, inevitably resulting in Kant calls an "antinomy," a situation in which two contradictory theses are equally defensible. This neatly explains why three big brains could believe the one thesis, the other, and both. Matter is no accident of form, nor form of matter, but both are complementary aspects of the same thing.

I need to study what they wrote more. It seems to the past philosphers like kant and newton already try to define it.

i want to know whether space is really shapeless and formless, or does it have specific shape area or form.

Space is curved with gravity and time and it isn't empty. It's filled with gravitrons emp and traces of atoms.

Light, photons, will actually follow a curved path in relation the the gravity within space. They curve not because the photon is being pulled but because space itself is curved and the light wants to continue in a straight trajectory.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
does outer space have top and bottom, or floor and ceiling

like sky and earth. or is the sky and earth model only applies on our planet

it is hard to image space without a floor layer or bottom.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
is there a top or bottom limit in space

or top and bottom is only relative . there is no such thing.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
sky is just space without land

it is hard for the human mind to conceptualize space without land and bottom .

#### Grayman

sky is just space without land

it is hard for the human mind to conceptualize space without land and bottom .

Top and bottom makes no sense when describing our position on a spherical object. It's just a question of how deep you sink into the partially cooked donut hole.

If you where on a gas giant, where is the bottom and land on that?

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
sky is just space without land

it is hard for the human mind to conceptualize space without land and bottom .

Top and bottom makes no sense when describing our position on a spherical object. It's just a question of how deep you sink into the partially cooked donut hole.

If you where on a gas giant, where is the bottom and land on that?

if there is no top and bottom, isnt the sky and floor then same?

arent they just a single thing rather than being seperated into two

you can say they are inverted, but you cant claim that they are the same.

anyway i am confused because i am not an astronaut.

#### ZenRaiden

##### One atom of me
how do you measure amount of space/nothingness,
We cannot measure it because we know quantum energy exists, and we still have clumsy tools that cannot even measure those.

for example: how to measure the amount of "space" in the sky?
This is the best tech for study of atmosphere.
We usually use metric or imperial systems.
We can also infer size of space by satellite tech with measures of lasers or gps.

is the amount of empty space in an empty room equal to the room's volume, or is it something else?
Empty space in empty room is exactly 100 percent + 0 percent.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
i think the top and bottom depends and relative to the frame of reference/background

there is ceiling and floor, we just cant percieve it.

upside down is not same is normal

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
i am guessing space contains no surface or area.

and there is no top and bottom (floor or ceiling) , it seems really weird

there is a cordinate system but none of the above

and these things are just applied to earth reference frame?

#### Hourglass

##### Time and enlightenment
Isn’t infinity a measurement in itself?

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
Isn’t infinity a measurement in itself?
thats true , but infnite scale is not possible to define mathematically, or i dont know what it is

i am sure outer space have position and cordinates and is a large map, just like the earth or planet surface.

as for north south east west left right, top bottom, not sure they are earth concepts or applies to outer space as well.

#### Hourglass

##### Time and enlightenment
Isn’t infinity a measurement in itself?
thats true , but infnite scale is not possible to define mathematically, or i dont know what it is

i am sure outer space have position and cordinates and is a large map, just like the earth or planet surface.

as for north south east west left right, top bottom, not sure they are earth concepts or applies to outer space as well.

In that case i.e. if we assume that outer space is measured similarly to how we measure the space around us now, it would seem that empty space could be measured the same way no matter where is it located, however the effects of the objects in relation to that space are affected by gravitational pull or lack thereof, so then it looks like the question becomes what is the most accurate way to measure variable empty space? Hard question to ask…

Any empty space in the sky or in outer space isn’t necessarily void of objects, and therefore it isn’t exactly empty, there are particles in the are that can be measured and those all vary

We have measurements for distances between planets, etc. so that is one or several types of interplanetary measurements that could apply

Empty space is typically measured once it is is relational to an object or by a term which originated from a measurable object or a symbolic pattern

If said “empty space” isn’t in the field of “view” to be relational to an object, having an object can help with what the right/best measurement to use is, but not sure objects are in this point of view being considered… are they?

So…If we are assuming that there are no objects present, and the empty space is continuous and has no bounds, I’d still think that counts as infinite empty space, and thus would be measured by infinity.

If there are assumed to be bounds, it is measurable and a measurement is based on the existence of an object or a formulation of symbolic measurement.

I also think the concept of outer space and infinity influence each other. I.e. “to infinity and beyond”.

So the answer might be a measurement in between infinity -and- some concept of measuring space within a certain dimensionally defined area.

An empty space can be measured depending on its dimensions. If the dimensions are undefined or infinite that affects how it can be measured.

So the answer will vary for different things and it doesn’t seem like there would be 1 single answer, but correct me if I’m wrong because I’m curious as well.

#### ZenRaiden

##### One atom of me
I was actually measuring emptiness once.
I measured it with my feelings.
The measurement was "it sucks".
Kind of like vacuum.

#### Hourglass

##### Time and enlightenment
By the way, @sushi the concept of “undefined” is used in computing and mathematics. This might be closer to the answer.

Empty space is indeterminate in outer space. We can largely refer to this vastness of empty space as indeterminate and thus “undefined”.

Anyone in the world can try to define and measure it but it will always be indeterminate.

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
Isn’t infinity a measurement in itself?
thats true , but infnite scale is not possible to define mathematically, or i dont know what it is

i am sure outer space have position and cordinates and is a large map, just like the earth or planet surface.

as for north south east west left right, top bottom, not sure they are earth concepts or applies to outer space as well.

In that case i.e. if we assume that outer space is measured similarly to how we measure the space around us now, it would seem that empty space could be measured the same way no matter where is it located, however the effects of the objects in relation to that space are affected by gravitational pull or lack thereof, so then it looks like the question becomes what is the most accurate way to measure variable empty space? Hard question to ask…

the amount of stuff inside a empty box, or the amount of room inside a building.

which appears to be ceiling and floor based on earth view.

#### birdsnestfern

##### Nested
I doubt if you mean measure volume of a 3D object, but if you do, its a formula L x W x H for Volume.
It you want Area of a 2D circle, its Pi Radius Squared. A rectangle is Area = Length x Width. A triangle is 1/2 base x height.
If you want to measure volume of oddly shaped items that are not geometric, you use calculus.

In math, volume is the amount of space in a certain 3D object. For instance, a fish tank has 3 feet in length, 1 foot in width and two feet in height. To find the volume, you multiply length times width times height, which is 3x1x2, which equals six. So the volume of the fish tank is 6 cubic feet.

Or, measure using water displacement if the shape is cylindrical or oddly shaped. This is probably not what you are asking though.

#### Attachments

• find the area .jpg
119.9 KB · Views: 7

#### sushi

##### Prolific Member
I doubt if you mean measure volume of a 3D object, but if you do, its a formula L x W x H for Volume.
It you want Area of a 2D circle, its Pi Radius Squared. A rectangle is Area = Length x Width. A triangle is 1/2 base x height.
If you want to measure volume of oddly shaped items that are not geometric, you use calculus.

In math, volume is the amount of space in a certain 3D object. For instance, a fish tank has 3 feet in length, 1 foot in width and two feet in height. To find the volume, you multiply length times width times height, which is 3x1x2, which equals six. So the volume of the fish tank is 6 cubic feet.

Or, measure using water displacement if the shape is cylindrical or oddly shaped. This is probably not what you are asking though.

there is no length times width times height for the universe or outer space outside earth.

space contains vectors , while the ceiling and floor is scalar.

in infinite space, the distance between ceiling and floor is infinite.