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Record-Breaking Galaxy Found In Deep Hubble Image

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the old-neighborhood dept.

Space 196

The Bad Astronomer writes "Astronomers using Hubble Space Telescope have found a galaxy at the very edge of the Universe: the light from this far-flung object has been traveling a whopping 13.1 billion years to get here! The galaxy appears as a non-descript dot in the infrared Hubble Ultra Deep Field taken using the Wide Field Camera 3, but a spectrum taken using a ground-based telescope confirms that we're seeing this object as it was a mere 600 million years after the Big Bang itself."

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Does it still exist? (5, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969536)

So does it still exist? Considering how far the light is traveling to get here, is there any way to determine if the galaxy is even still there? Then again I don't imagine they just disappear but I dunno it could be suffering heat death and all the stars burning out.

Re:Does it still exist? (4, Informative)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969568)

No, there is no way to know for sure if it still exists, but I think most don't "live" that long and it has probably faded out or "evolved" into something different.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Funny)

BizzyM (996195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969702)

Sub-question: is it better to burn out or fade away?

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

ArwynH (883499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969788)

There can be only one!

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

Airborne-ng (1391105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969968)

Insert obligatory Highlander intro theme [youtube.com] ...for those that need their fix.

Re:Does it still exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970304)

It's known that it's better to burn out than it is to rust.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970446)

But rust never sleeps

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Informative)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969978)

Probably got eaten by another galaxy, there was a lot of cannibalism back then.

Re:Does it still exist? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970394)

If we somehow knew something about its fate, then that would mean that we got that knowledge through information transfer at a speed faster than light... The most current information we have about this object is its appearance as it was 13.1 billion years ago. Anything other than that is pure speculation based on our understanding of stellar and galaxy evolution.

Re:Does it still exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970498)

Perhaps whatever has evolved there is just now seeing what we evolved from.

Or something like that. Whoa... dude....

Re:Does it still exist? (4, Informative)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969570)

I think there's a maximum length after which a galaxy cannot exist; diminishing element returns from supernovae. Unfortunately I'm not sure how long it is, but it's much longer than 13 billion years; individual red dwarves can last for hundreds of billions of years. As for merger with other galaxies or destruction by a supermassive black hole though, its anyone's guess.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Interesting)

atfrase (879806) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969708)

I think there's a maximum length after which a galaxy cannot exist; diminishing element returns from supernovae. Unfortunately I'm not sure how long it is, but it's much longer than 13 billion years; individual red dwarves can last for hundreds of billions of years. As for merger with other galaxies or destruction by a supermassive black hole though, its anyone's guess.

If the universe is under 15 billions years old, how do we know red dwarves can last 100 billion years?

Re:Does it still exist? (4, Insightful)

theantipop (803016) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969718)

Mathematics.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969762)

Mathematics.

The discipline that applies into everything, but in itself is about nothing (real).

Re:Does it still exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970514)

Which means that nothing is real?

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970702)

Which means that nothing is real?

I hereby solemnly declare that nothing is, indeed, real.
Also real are, for the matter of generalization by induction, nobody and noone (which aren't just anybody or, respectively, anyone; paradoxically, the aren't somebody/someone either).

My friend, it is only the complex numbers that have an imaginary part.

Re:Does it still exist? (3, Informative)

UCSCTek (806902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970548)

You might be tickled to learn that there are some (wild-ish) theories that posit "every mathematical abstraction exists", as in, for every concept you can derive from mathematics, it actually exists "somewhere". Look at "mathematical multiverse" here http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/crazy.html [mit.edu] And Tegmark is not actually a crackpot, just fanciful. :)

Re:Does it still exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970938)

It's not "wild-ish", its simply a different ontology from what you seem to be using. (Its true by definition under idealism.)

Philosophy of science is a funny (but interesting) thing.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971184)

And they even write novels [amazon.com] where it's a central point to the plot...

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970584)

The discipline that applies into everything, but in itself is about nothing (real).

It's kind of like C++ in that regard. It can do anything, but without the appropriate libraries (application knowledge) it can do nothing.

Re:Does it still exist? (4, Funny)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970848)

The discipline that applies into everything, but in itself is about nothing (real).

I think you'll find that math is in fact a lot about reals.

Re:Does it still exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33969728)

Science!

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969774)

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969792)

also, a bit off topic, but based on current math, a red dwarf with a tenth of a solar mass can last 10 trillion years.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970454)

Unless it hit something. 10 trillion years is a long time to avoid a collision, even if you're a good driver.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969778)

Considering the article estimates the bing bang to have happend around 13.7 billion years ago, I don't see how red dwarves can exist for over 100 billion years.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Insightful)

sirrunsalot (1575073) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969796)

Why not? The water bottle I'm holding was created only weeks ago, but I see no reason to doubt that it could take a thousand years to biodegrade.

Re:Does it still exist? (3, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970054)

Considering the article estimates the bing bang to have happend around 13.7 billion years ago, I don't see how red dwarves can exist for over 100 billion years.

Observe a red dwarf over a period of years and estimate its current mass as well as its rate of mass depletion. Then do the math and calculate the amount of time it will take until its mass is such that it is no longer a red dwarf. Obviously someone has done this and come up with an estimated longevity of more than 100 billion years.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Funny)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969678)

It's still there, or at least it was when I was there last month. The pizza's not nearly as good as it used to be, though.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Funny)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970026)

I guess you were eating at "The Restaurant at the Start of the Universe". I like their band.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Informative)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970604)

That's the Big Bang Burger Bar to you.

Re:Does it still exist? (4, Informative)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969688)

according to relativity, if we see it it exists.

Re:Does it still exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33969992)

Hmm no. Relativity postulates that the speed of light is constant, not infinite.

Re:Does it still exist? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970212)

No, the grandparent's point is that for all intents and purposes, we only experience something else as existing by signals exchanged at the speed of light (the basic point of special relativity). Whether or not an object exists "right now" is sorta a meaningless question to ask in the first place.

Re:Does it still exist? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970690)

It's not meaningless, just hidden from us. When a Mars probe is supposed to land at 1:23 UT, at that time the Mars probe either landed or crashed, and 30 minutes later at 1:53 UT when its signal is supposed to reach us we know whether the probe landed or crashed at 1:23 UT. If you then travel there with a clock and can somehow measure the age of the crater, you'll see that it occurred at 1:23 UT. Stuff is happening outside of your light cone, you know.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969700)

Since every direction we look we see the same type of cosmology at the edge of visible space, 1)we are no closer than 13~bly from the edge of the universe, and 2)What is seen here has already followed the same pattern of galaxy life cycle that can be observed from looking from farthest away to closest in.

So, It still exists as a distinct galaxy or it has merged with another galaxy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxy_formation_and_evolution [wikipedia.org]

PS NO, it's not still in the location we observe it today, it has moved quite a bit since it emitted that 13.1billion year old light.

Re:Does it still exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970190)

we are no closer than 13~bly from the edge of the universe

If there is in fact an "edge" to speak of. The structure of the Universe could very well be such that if you keep going forward, you'll eventually end up back were you started.

Of course, if you are talking about the "visible, known" Universe, then you are technically correct.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970732)

If the universe is so curved and the curvature is universally similar, then the cosmic background microwave radiation would the mass of our predecessor galaxy in the long view. The frequency would tell us the angle of curvature, and the rate of expansion. The differences in background frequency would tell us both the size of the universe and our location within it. The doppling of the background from that understanding would then be a map to all the mass that is. It would answer a lot of questions. Unfortunately no current analysis of the available data gives these answers. The analysis has been attempted since the '70s, and no reasonable explanation for varying curvatures of space have been found that bring the picture into resolution. I'm not saying that you're wrong - only that that solution has been thoroughly picked over and the proof isn't found yet.

It may be possible with modern computational techniques that use a sliding curvature to find optimal focus using known masses that this will yield a map of the Universe that's static and well understood, thereby defining the curvature constant. That outcome seems unlikely, but I have to give you that it's possible.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Funny)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969768)

Yes it does. Someone should really go up there and clean that piece of dust sticked to the mirror.

Re:Does it still exist? (4, Informative)

yariv (1107831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969770)

This question is not well phrased. There is no universal "now" in relativity. You probably mean something like "in our reference frame does this galaxy exist somewhere now", and then the answer is that we can't tell. If you'll choose some other reference frame, you'll get different points to correspond to our "now". So abandon the notion of "still exist", it exists "now" in the most meaningful way, the point we see when we look there...

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Funny)

Literaryhero (1379743) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970318)

So we should name it Schrodinger's Galaxy?

Re:Does it still exist? (3, Interesting)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969940)

Here is an interesting twist for you.

What if that blob of a gallaxy is is really the Milkyway when it was very young and the light we are seeing has in fact traveled around the curve of the Universe so we can see it now the way it was then.

We only have to wait 13.1 billion years to see if it evolves into what we see locally now.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970508)

Sorry, but it took a really long time to compose my response to the parent. Please refer below.

Also: if the curvature of space is recursive and uniform in all directions, and we can see ourselves from here, then the microwave background pattern of the Universe is not an echo from the Big Bang. That signal must then be ourselves at whatever distance the curvature loops back, and the pattern is doppled by the masses along the loop which gives us a way to map all that is.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970692)

That occurred to me as well after I hit submit.

The three degree background might be the energy emitted by all the stars, etc., and attenuated (inverse square) by the distance and overlaped with itself each time it travels back to its origin. That would explain the uniformity of it.

Of course this would mean we live in a bounded Universe that was only(!)13.1 billion light years wide.

Just as interesting is to consider that from the view point of that galaxy now a sentient would see the Milkyway looking the same as their galaxy does now to us. And if they looked in the opposite direction they would see another early galaxy 13.1 billion years from them. A sentient in THAT galaxy now would not be able to see our galaxy since we would be beyond their current light horizon. So it will be another 13.1 billion years before light from our galaxy reaches them and they even know the Milkyway exists.

I really love thinking about this kind of stuff, keeps me from dwelling too much on the little things.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970868)

When I was a kid, oh, those many decades ago, there was a radio observatory just outside of town where they discovered this "microwave background pattern of the universe" thing. It was, roughly, here [goo.gl] . They called it "Project Orion" back then - though I understand the name has been appropriated since. The site itself was called "Big Ears on the Desert." I have no idea if it's still there. The last time I was there was over 20 years ago, and I wandered about an empty campus for a couple hours and went home. (It was a holiday weekend. The computers were still humming, the dishes were still tracking. I overcame my innate urge to geek on the console.)

The guys from there did come into town now and then. They were a talkative bunch. Full of ideas and theories, and "but don't tell." They had great computers, and I hoped to work with them, but it was not to be. They had visitors from all the tech world - I met a guy on the design team for the Straw Man implementation of ADA there. IIRC I stole his girlfriend. Fun times.

If you get out that way, let us know how it went. If anybody knows the answer to this question, they do.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971112)

What if that blob of a gallaxy is is really the Milkyway when it was very young and the light we are seeing has in fact traveled around the curve of the Universe so we can see it now the way it was then.

Whoa. As Keanu Reaves would say.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970208)

I'm not even certain that this question makes sense. Not trolling; but if we can only know what's happening in that galaxy "600 million years ago," isn't that precisely what's happening now? The future timeline of that galaxy is not something we can know unless we have somebody go there, come back, and oh, wait: That person's info will STILL be at least 14.4 billion years behind. Or at least that's my interpretation of relativity: that what's happening somewhere else at the same time, especially on galactic scales, is not a question that makes sense.

Re:Does it still exist? (2, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970238)

The Universe is really good about recycling stuff. From what we know of the preservation of mass/energy and the evolution of galaxies and stars, the stuff that galaxy was made of was is still there mostly - except for tiny fraction of mass that's been converted to energy - a small fraction of which is the light that we see. The stars have gone Nova or Supernova, faded to red giants, or collided with other stars to be reignited and reborn as a new class of star while throwing off much mass that cools to become dust or wayward planets. The Galaxy core has swallowed much, as have the thousands of black holes that live within that galaxy, and those black holes have evaporated much back out, most of the mass would still be free from any black hole and would exist as stellar systems composed of stars orbited by planets, comets, asteroids and dust. Between the stars will be bits of dust and gas as usual, but mostly vast cold empty space. Given the standard distribution it's likely that galaxy has had several collisions with neighboring galaxies, with considerable mixing, and flung some of its stuff into the cold dark abyss but gained much more in the merger. It may have settled into a standard galactic form, or be involved with a messy galactic collision as our galaxy is. Still it's likely that there are stars there, as much as here and in as good variety, with worlds and comets circling the stars, and moons about the worlds. Life is no more likely to arise here than there. There are doubtless many millions of stars in that galaxy that humans would find habitable yet. Without data we have no reason to believe or disbelieve that in that mass of stars there is not now life looking back at the mass of stars our predecessor galaxy was those billions of years ago, wondering if there is intelligent life here or if there might be someday.

"There" is somewhat of a tricky term since it's a good bit further away now than it was when the light that we see left there. Across such distances "now" has a rather fluid meaning as well - what time it is there depends somewhat on the path you take to get there and even at the speed of light the straightest path isn't necessarily the shortest. Also, "is" is a bit of a struggle. The universe has expanded so much in that time that the light that leaves here now cannot fall upon the stuff those stars were made of, ever. And if that stuff has escaped our light cone, can it be said to still "be"?

And yet if we look in the opposite direction we can see galaxies nearly as far away as this - and someday we may beat this range in that direction. We can be sure these galaxies on the distant edge of vision from here and diametrically opposed have never seen each other and never will: there was no time for that light to get from the one to the other before the expansion of the Universe flung them so far apart that they have always existed in separate light cones. In the imaginary experiment where in a static reference frame we could transport instantaneously to the stuff these distant galaxies have become there is no reason to believe that the view from there is any different than from here: stars and galaxies, as far as our current telescopes can see both back toward us, and the other way also. For certain if we could jump that distance twice and looked back, we would see the other side of this same galaxy, as each sun shed its light in all directions.

If we could repeat that jump over and over some think we might end up where we started, as the curvature of space itself bends back in some way until if you go far enough, you come home. Among these some think that in this distant galaxy the Universe is so tightly curved that we're already looking at our galaxy from the other side, somewhere out there in the sky. Others that more leaps are required.

Some thinkers take the divergent view that that the Universe is flat - or curves the other way, and eventually instead we would come to the End, whereafter is nothing but light flung into the dark never to return, and a subsequent jump would yield fossil light toward the return - but in the other direction nothing but darkness and void. To go a further jump splits the opinions again, some predicting nothing but darkness in all directions because no energy has reached that space yet, and some predicting a failed jump because the target space remains undefined.

But nobody knows for sure. In the vastness of this description of the Universe it's hard to imagine, but researchers on Earth are working on some theories with physical proofs. They're using superconducting colliders to reproduce the conditions of the early Universe in tiny bundles of energy and matter and antimatter. According to their theories the current activities of subatomic particles give some insight into the nature of the Universe writ large. Using the smallest fractions of mass and energy our instruments can perceive they hope to learn about the length and breadth of all that is. I certainly wish them luck. I'm certain they will discover something. I am not positive they will discover everything, nor understand what they find, as apparently the rules are changing. There are things called "cosmological constants" that theoreticians use to develop their theories, which are based on observations made in the last hundred years. With our expanded view of the Universe we are beginning to discover that these "constants" are not as "constant" as we once believed they were. If the fundamental nature of the Universe changes over time - and some believe they have proof it is different even in parts we can see from here - then all of physics might transform into a metaphysics where the constants can be redefined and how the constants change over time may become more important that what those constants currently are here and now.

There are those who stretch their minds to believe they can imagine all of the Universe from its beginning to its end, and believe it is a bubble that pops and dissipates away in something called "heat death". Others in this camp believe it's a bubble that grows to a certain size, and then collapses within itself, gone forever. Some few are so meta that they imagine a cycle of a bubble that expands to unimaginable breadth only to collapse into a single point that then through inertia expands into a bubble again - either infinitely or with diminishing returns, or increasing in breadth until it finds heat death. Some would go even more meta and presume that it is a collision of two meta-planes called "branes", and that is it but one bubble at the peak of a wave on an endless sea. Others would have it a four dimensional observable projection in some larger dimensional space (some say 23) where the observable universe is but one of many - and that the laws of this one don't hold to the others. But then they differ on whether the replication is across Tau, or Teh, or probability, or some other thing. Some would say we are imagining it: it is a dream and we agreed between us immortals to presume the joke for the duration of the play.

Like toddlers it's fun to watch them play, but attempting to assign some meaning in your life to their motions seems pointless.

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970904)

Give me 13 billion years, I'll let you know...

Re:Does it still exist? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971202)

"but I dunno it could be suffering heat death and all the stars burning out."

Unlikely, the oldest known star in the milky way is a 13.2 billion year old red giant called HE 1523-0901.

Correct me if I'm wrong.. (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969538)

but isn't there a practical light/distance limit after which we can only see the glow of the big bang? I'm thinking 13B light years, exciting that we're approaching it

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong.. (2, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969590)

Considering that they state that this galaxy is 13.1 billion light years away, and 600 million years after the Big Bang... I would say that from a rough calculation that the limit you're referring to is about 13.7 billion light years.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong.. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33969638)

Yes, there's a limit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Big_Bang#Recombination:_ca_377.2C000_years

When the universe was still too hot for atoms to form, photons couldn't get too far before hitting a free electron. Then the universe cooled enough for recombination of hydrogen ions and electrons, making the universe 'clear'.

So we can only see back to 377000 years after the big bang, then it's lost in the background microwave radiation.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong.. (2, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969646)

the universe was opaque to radiation until 400,000 years after the Big Bang, that's the very last time most of the CMB photons interacted with matter.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong.. (2, Informative)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969756)

Actually, I believe that after the Big Bang but before the first galaxies, there was a rather long period which were know as the dark ages" [astro.ubc.ca] .

You can see radiation from the big bang, but you can't see the light. Ever. The big bang itself didn't make any light. Photons simply couldn't exist in those conditions.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong.. (1)

Wolfbone (668810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969816)

The first ~380,000 years are all glow, yes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recombination_(cosmology) [wikipedia.org] and galaxies take some time to form after that too. Note also that if the light from an object we are seeing now has taken ~13 Gyr to get here, that object is actually considerably further away than ~13 Gly because of the expansion of the cosmos.

Thanks (-1, Offtopic)

scarveszcl (1925752) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969558)

Thanks for you sharing. crystal jewelry [crystaljewelrysale.com]

Record breaking (3, Interesting)

DavMz (1652411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969640)

I am not sure it is a record-breaking galaxy, but Hubble is definitely a record-breaking telescope!

Re:Record breaking (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969680)

it's amazing to think it was launched almost 20 years ago.

Re:Record breaking (0, Troll)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969710)

Record of flaws injected in such a space device, or record of servicing and reparations?

Re:Record breaking (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33969838)

What's the record of my cock up your mom's ass? (Hint: 13 inches)

Re:Record breaking (-1, Offtopic)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970340)

Why am I the only one to have that kind of retarded comments?

Wow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33969704)

Wow. That was so cool of God to put something like that so far away just for us to discover.

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

sirrunsalot (1575073) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969844)

Don't forget that all we're talking about here is photons created in mid-transit so that it would look like there's a galaxy there. Personally, I still think dinosaurs take the cake in the category of artifacts created 6000 years ago solely for our bemusement.

Re:Wow (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970022)

Well, creating a 6000 light-year radius field of photons is certainly easier than creating a whole universe, especially if you've only got 7 days to do it in. And since the world will clearly end any day now, the field needn't be any bigger. You don't even both creating actual matter outside the solar system.

(actually it seems even easier to create a photon generating sphere around the solar system, or just the earth, and simulate everything - those pesky probes humans send out could be destroyed when they reach the boundary and incorporated into the simulation - the Pioneer anomaly is just a bug - who says God writes perfect code?)

Re:Wow (1)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970458)

So you're saying God hacked up a sky-box?

Only is Hubble's Law is valid (0, Troll)

anarkhos (209172) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969738)

Only if you buy into Hubble's Law, which various anomalies (most involving quasars) should give one pause.

Re:Only is Hubble's Law is valid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970228)

Only if you buy into Hubble's Law, which various anomalies (most involving quasars) should give one pause.

Uh... Hubble's Law which various anomalies should give one pause? Parsing error.

Whoa! (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969914)

13.1 billion light years? That is like, totally far out, Dude.

red shift (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33969976)

anybody in the know want to translate z=8.6 as a fraction of c? (too lazy to look it up)

Re:red shift (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970344)

anybody in the know want to translate z=8.6 as a fraction of c?

Well, since z is a distance (scale factor) and c is a velocity, the obvious answer would be "you don't".

If your ship is so fast, how many parsecs did it take you to make the Kessel run?

Re:red shift (1)

Wolfbone (668810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970516)

Well, since z is a distance (scale factor) and c is a velocity,

It isn't a distance or a scale factor: z is a pure number ratio of frequencies or wavelengths http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redshift [wikipedia.org]

Will the James Webb?? (1)

zerospeaks (1467571) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970004)

Will the James webb telescope see farther? If it can see further than 14 billion years then it can see the big bang.... wait what?

Re:Will the James Webb?? (1)

yariv (1107831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970080)

seeing the big bang is easy, it's called cosmic radiation.

Re:Will the James Webb?? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971150)

The BB is still occuring, we are part of it.

How does this work? (1)

Praseodymn (195411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970110)

A question that I've always had about this, 'the light took J billion years to get to where we are now, so it's this close to the big bang!" thing is: wouldn't that assume that where the earth is now is where it would have been had it existed at the time of the big bang? The matter that now makes up the earth was a part of the big bang and so moved outward away from the site at a speed lower than that of light in a vacuum, no? So no matter how far back you look, you're NEVER going to see the beginnings of the universe, because the light from everything that happened around the time of the big bang radiated out past us and is already gone. The only things we can see are things that happened far enough away that the light has not yet reached us until now. Considering how slowly the universe must have expanded in real terms (unless they're saying it expanded near c), how is it even possible that it's anywhere close to 600m years after the big bang?
Someone please explain.

Re:How does this work? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970162)

The universe expansion is not a speed, but a speed per unit of distance. If two points are far enough, the space between them can expand faster than c. Hope this helps.

Re:How does this work? (2, Interesting)

fadethepolice (689344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970172)

I think it's because we are not looking at an object located at a specific time / distance,but we are searching all objects for the few that happen to be detected are at a similar vector from the point of origin as ours. So we are detecting things that originated at our location or a similar one a long time ago even if we were not there. Mentioned in the article is the fact that since we are able to detect this object which originated from that selected interval there must be a myriad of similar objects that actually behave in the way you describe.

Re:How does this work? (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970568)

One thing to consider is that the speed of the expansion has been accelerating ever since it started.

Also "Considering how slowly the universe must have expanded in real terms"
As far as I understand 'slow' is not really a good description to describe what happened after the big bang. The expansion rate defied every form of physics as we know it.

But still, that universe at that place, in that form, at that time, we observing it, now, in this place, at this time....
It doesn't make sense to me either ;-)

Re:How does this work? (1)

Wolfbone (668810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970726)

You seem to be picturing the Big Bang as though it were like an explosion from a central site outwards. It wasn't like that at all: http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/bb_concepts.html [nasa.gov]

How fast was that galaxy moving? (2, Interesting)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970122)

So they're trying to tell me that within 600 million years of the big bang, that galaxy managed to get 13 billion light years away from where our galaxy now lies? Even if we and it are at opposite ends of the universe, it would have to have gotten 6.5 billion light years from the center of the universe in those 600 million years, yes? It sounds like it must have been going a bit over the speed limit, don't you think? It got that far away, and still had time to form into a galaxy? Why is my slide rule melting as I try to figure out how it got so far away so quickly? Maybe the light took 13 billion years to reach us, but it's been going around in circles? If so, that Galaxy might be a LOT closer, as the crow flies.

Re:How fast was that galaxy moving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970442)

The joke's on everyone: It's a giant mirror at the edge of the universe. UDFy-38135539 == Milky Way! :-)

Re:How fast was that galaxy moving? (2, Interesting)

Woek (161635) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970452)

Good question! I think it has something to do with the stretching of space-time. The galaxy was there 600 million years after the big bang, 13 billion light years from where we were going to be, but space-time (the universe) was smaller. In a way, the light-year was smaller than it is now, but that galaxy was still moving away from our location at nearly light speed.
What is interesting to me is that a galaxy could be formed at all in 600 million years!

Re:How fast was that galaxy moving? (2, Insightful)

mfwitten (1906728) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970564)

Think of space as muffin batter, and think of the galaxies as chocolate chips in the batter; as this mixture bakes, the batter expands everywhere, and consequently the chocolate chips become farther apart from each other.

Or, think of space as a balloon, and think of the galaxies as little ink marks on the surface of the balloon; as air is pumped into the balloon, the surface of the balloon expands, and consequently the chocolate chips become farther apart from each other.

There is no central point from which galaxies were flung; after all, into what could they have been flung? Instead, the space between matter has expanded with time (and the greater the distance between two things, the greater the rate of expansion between them).

Re:How fast was that galaxy moving? (5, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970578)

Like another person pointed out earlier, due to hubble's constant for the expansion of the universe, the rate of spacetime expansion can exceed C, given a sufficiently large starting distance.

That is to say, the reason it took 13 billion years to reach us, is because the intervening space between it and us is growing consistently to hubble's constant; Literally "New spacetime" is being injected between it and us.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble's_law [wikipedia.org]

Basically, it is why there is a distinction between the "Observable universe", and "The universe". We cannot see all of the universe, because parts of it are so far away that the rate of expansion exceeds the speed of light, so that the light can never reach us.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

CheeseyDJ (800272) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971294)

Excellent answer.

Re:How fast was that galaxy moving? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970656)

What's really going to blow your mind is that the observable universe is 90ish billion lys across. Space is expanding, and the expansion is accelerating. That makes it so there exists a distance where the space expanding between us and what we're trying to see moves us away at faster than lightspeed, thus, the light will never reach us. Look up the term "comoving distance".

Also: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=misconceptions-about-the-2005-03&page=5

Enjoy.

Re:How fast was that galaxy moving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970984)

Expansion of space has no speed limit (and is cumulative over distance).

it is 40 billion light years from us (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33971274)

The light has traveled for 13.1 billion years while the universe has kept expanding.
The galaxy is now 3 times that distance from us.
sheesh call yourselves nerds ....
see ned wrights tutorial here:
http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmolog.htm

Space is a big place.... (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970504)

If it emitted this light 13 billion years ago then at that point it was the edge of the universe
We know that the universe has been expanding since it started, so we're not looking at the edge right now. We're looking at what used to be the edge.

What boggles my mind however, If at a mere 600 million years after the big bang the universe already expanded to that size. How big and vast must it be by now? Truly mindblowing. Almost literally when I try to imagine.

And Why Isn't It Backlit? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970566)

And why isn't this galaxy backlit by the overwhelming brightness of the Big Bang itself? It would seem if you looked just a little bit further back in time everything ought to be one gigantnormous flash bulb.

Re:And Why Isn't It Backlit? (2, Informative)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970740)

In a way it is. Everything is. The cosmic background radiation simply has so much redshift it's shifted to microwave (redshift of over 1000). WMAP [nasa.gov] has made a picture.
Note that this glow isn't from the Big Bang itself. The universe was so hot (over a billion K) it wasn't transparent yet. There were no protons and neutrons, only a superheated quark soup. The signal WMAP captured was from about 400.000.000 years later: when the universe expanded and cooled enough to get transparent.

Re:And Why Isn't It Backlit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970968)

We do actually see that; it's called the Cosmic Microwave Background. It was blindingly bright around 13.7 billion years ago, but as space-time expanded, all of that energy was diluted throughout the huge volume of the universe and now it's hard to even see.

Re:And Why Isn't It Backlit? (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971126)

And why isn't this galaxy backlit by the overwhelming brightness of the Big Bang itself? It would seem if you looked just a little bit further back in time everything ought to be one gigantnormous flash bulb.

That gigantnormous flash bulb is on. Right now. It's called cosmic microwave background radiation [wikipedia.org] . Only we can't see it with the naked eye because of the expansion of the universe.

The galaxy is backlit ... (2, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971240)

And why isn't this galaxy backlit by the overwhelming brightness of the Big Bang itself? It would seem if you looked just a little bit further back in time everything ought to be one gigantnormous flash bulb.

The galaxy is backlit, the "flash" is merely at microwave frequencies not visible light frequencies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_background_radiation [wikipedia.org] .

No, no, no. That's not right. (2, Funny)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970750)

The Earth is 6500 years old, or approximately 12000 metric years. The heavens were created at the same time, so we can only assume that the universe itself is 6500 years old, as well.

So if this galaxy was created 600 million years after the creation of the universe, then it exists 599,993,500 years in the future. Adjust for inflation and it's approximately 13.1 billion years in the future. We could be seeing our future selves.

But Armageddon is going to happen in 2012, right? Is God playing tricks on us again?

That reminds me of a joke...

Knock. Knock.
Who's there?
Armageddon.
Armageddon who?
Armageddon tired of waiting for you to open the door!

appealing to science (1)

KharmaWidow (1504025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971084)

... how can a vacuum, with no physical or chemical properties, go 'bang?'

Can a galaxy form in such a short period of time? (2, Interesting)

master_p (608214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971232)

So can a galaxy be created in 600 million years?

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