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(The Register)   Hubble telescope photographs galaxies 2.2 × 10^6 times older than the universe   (theregister.co.uk) divider line 148
    More: Cool, Hubble Telescope, galaxies, universe, Hubble, American Astronomical Society, Wide Field Camera 3, light-years, Virgo Cluster  
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7298 clicks; posted to Geek » on 10 Jan 2012 at 5:51 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-01-10 04:53:07 PM
Ok, stupid question time. If you're able to see something billions of light years away, wouldn't there be so much noise from millions of other galaxies nearer to us... essentially "in front" of the ones you're trying to photograph?
 
2012-01-10 04:55:21 PM
BoRG? Aw, Crap....

/resistance is futile
 
2012-01-10 05:02:57 PM
This is bad news...

for Jesus.
 
2012-01-10 05:18:54 PM
[whatyoudidthere-iseeit.jpg]
 
2012-01-10 05:29:44 PM

downstairs: Ok, stupid question time. If you're able to see something billions of light years away, wouldn't there be so much noise from millions of other galaxies nearer to us... essentially "in front" of the ones you're trying to photograph?


Did you see the photo? Those 2000 colored spots crammed into that single image are ALL galaxies. And that entire image was taken in a patch of sky corresponding to 130 square arcminutes*. Isn't that dense enough for you?

*One degree = 1/360 of a rotation, so 1 arcminute = 1/21,600 of a degree.
 
2012-01-10 05:33:43 PM

DeltaPunch: downstairs: Ok, stupid question time. If you're able to see something billions of light years away, wouldn't there be so much noise from millions of other galaxies nearer to us... essentially "in front" of the ones you're trying to photograph?

Did you see the photo? Those 2000 colored spots crammed into that single image are ALL galaxies. And that entire image was taken in a patch of sky corresponding to 130 square arcminutes*. Isn't that dense enough for you?

*One degree = 1/360 of a rotation, so 1 arcminute = 1/21,600 of a degree.


Not sure how that answers my question... but I'm not knowledgable about astronomy.
 
2012-01-10 05:34:48 PM

downstairs: Ok, stupid question time. If you're able to see something billions of light years away, wouldn't there be so much noise from millions of other galaxies nearer to us... essentially "in front" of the ones you're trying to photograph?


I'm going to guess that this isn't an issue because the universe is mostly empty space.

Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?
 
2012-01-10 05:37:31 PM

DeltaPunch: downstairs: Ok, stupid question time. If you're able to see something billions of light years away, wouldn't there be so much noise from millions of other galaxies nearer to us... essentially "in front" of the ones you're trying to photograph?

Did you see the photo? Those 2000 colored spots crammed into that single image are ALL galaxies. And that entire image was taken in a patch of sky corresponding to 130 square arcminutes*. Isn't that dense enough for you?

*One degree = 1/360 of a rotation, so 1 arcminute = 1/21,600 of a degree.


Further to that, the regions of space that they use to image this distant galaxies are regions that are effectively empty of nearer galaxies. So yes, noise from nearby galaxies would be a problem, if they weren't actively looking for areas devoid of them.
 
2012-01-10 05:38:47 PM

FishyFred: Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?


that's the joke.jpg
 
2012-01-10 05:42:18 PM

SJKebab: DeltaPunch: downstairs: Ok, stupid question time. If you're able to see something billions of light years away, wouldn't there be so much noise from millions of other galaxies nearer to us... essentially "in front" of the ones you're trying to photograph?

Did you see the photo? Those 2000 colored spots crammed into that single image are ALL galaxies. And that entire image was taken in a patch of sky corresponding to 130 square arcminutes*. Isn't that dense enough for you?

*One degree = 1/360 of a rotation, so 1 arcminute = 1/21,600 of a degree.

Further to that, the regions of space that they use to image this distant galaxies are regions that are effectively empty of nearer galaxies. So yes, noise from nearby galaxies would be a problem, if they weren't actively looking for areas devoid of them.


Ok, gotcha.
 
2012-01-10 06:10:07 PM

FishyFred: Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?


Subby originally submitted this to the Politics tab.
 
2012-01-10 06:11:32 PM

Jclark666: FishyFred: Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?

Subby originally submitted this to the Politics tab.


Ooooooooh.
 
2012-01-10 06:11:50 PM

FishyFred: Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?


Without doing the math, I am going to guess that 2.2x106 times 6,000 = 13.1 billion, and that Subby is a bit of a wag.
 
2012-01-10 06:12:56 PM
2.2 × 10^6 times older than the universe

Or nearly the same age as Subby's Mom.
 
2012-01-10 06:15:50 PM

FishyFred: downstairs: Ok, stupid question time. If you're able to see something billions of light years away, wouldn't there be so much noise from millions of other galaxies nearer to us... essentially "in front" of the ones you're trying to photograph?

I'm going to guess that this isn't an issue because the universe is mostly empty space.

Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?


Subby is referring to the Biblical Age of 6,000 years.
 
2012-01-10 06:16:23 PM

FishyFred: Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?


It probably is.

Something to do with not being in the center of the universe. So, we can see 13 billion years in one direction, and would eventually end up seeing the 'wall' of the big bang. But since we're not going to be in the center, but off to one side... the 'near' wall is closer than then far wall. So 13 billion years one way... depending on how far from center we are, could be 20 billion years the other way....

/missed the joke intentionally.
 
2012-01-10 06:17:28 PM

downstairs: Ok, stupid question time. If you're able to see something billions of light years away, wouldn't there be so much noise from millions of other galaxies nearer to us... essentially "in front" of the ones you're trying to photograph?


Exactly. That is the reason why we cannot see what's behind them.
 
2012-01-10 06:18:45 PM
What bugs me about these kind of stories is that these galaxies were there 13 billion years ago, cause we are just getting light from them. No idea if they're still there. And how long did it take these galaxies to get that far from us?
 
2012-01-10 06:20:29 PM
www.lewisdt.com

Here's PROOF!
 
2012-01-10 06:20:49 PM

wippit: FishyFred: Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?

It probably is.

Something to do with not being in the center of the universe. So, we can see 13 billion years in one direction, and would eventually end up seeing the 'wall' of the big bang. But since we're not going to be in the center, but off to one side... the 'near' wall is closer than then far wall. So 13 billion years one way... depending on how far from center we are, could be 20 billion years the other way....

/missed the joke intentionally.


How do you know when you've seen the "wall"?
 
2012-01-10 06:24:14 PM

wippit: Something to do with not being in the center of the universe. So, we can see 13 billion years in one direction, and would eventually end up seeing the 'wall' of the big bang. But since we're not going to be in the center, but off to one side... the 'near' wall is closer than then far wall. So 13 billion years one way... depending on how far from center we are, could be 20 billion years the other way....


I get the joke in the headline... but does this mean that we're pretty damn close to seeing the "wall" of the big bang, and essentially the end of the universe... or the end of any matter existing?
 
2012-01-10 06:24:59 PM

FishyFred: downstairs: Ok, stupid question time. If you're able to see something billions of light years away, wouldn't there be so much noise from millions of other galaxies nearer to us... essentially "in front" of the ones you're trying to photograph?

I'm going to guess that this isn't an issue because the universe is mostly empty space.


Bingo. As immense as these galaxies are, what is even more immense is the distance and area between them. When people think about the trillions of stars in billions of galaxies in the universe, they rightfully think it is huge. But add in the ridiculously enormous space in between each one of these galaxies, and in between each star in each of these galaxies and the numbers are practically unfathomable.

Finding dark areas of the "sky" is therefore not a difficult thing to do at all.
 
2012-01-10 06:29:15 PM

Hassan Ben Sobr: [www.lewisdt.com image 596x887]

Here's PROOF!


Nobody using Old Testament names for their kids ever seems to pick Mahaleel or Arphaxad. A shame, really.
 
2012-01-10 06:31:53 PM
Ok, another question. If the age of the universe is 13.75 billion years, and we are able to snap photos of things 13.75 billion years old (because they're 13.75 billion light years away)... How does that work?

How could it have been that far away at the very beginning of the universe.

And what, as our technology gets better, happens if we have a telescope that can "see" something 15 billion light years away... which is older than the big bang?
 
2012-01-10 06:39:12 PM

downstairs: Ok, another question. If the age of the universe is 13.75 billion years, and we are able to snap photos of things 13.75 billion years old (because they're 13.75 billion light years away)... How does that work?

Well, it's like this. Our whole universe was in a hot dense state, then nearly 14 billion years ago expansion started--

How could it have been that far away at the very beginning of the universe.

Um, what?

And what, as our technology gets better, happens if we have a telescope that can "see" something 15 billion light years away... which is older than the big bang?


It's either that our technology could never advance so far that it can see things that did not exist or if you see back before the big bang with your magical technology, you will see the face of God. I'm betting on the first one.
 
2012-01-10 06:40:26 PM

schief2: Nobody using Old Testament names for their kids ever seems to pick Mahaleel or Arphaxad. A shame, really.


Anymore.^
 
2012-01-10 06:41:45 PM

bandy: schief2: Nobody using Old Testament names for their kids ever seems to pick Mahaleel or Arphaxad. A shame, really.


My parents did. My middle name is philistine.
 
2012-01-10 06:43:21 PM

AdolfOliverPanties: Bingo. As immense as these galaxies are, what is even more immense is the distance and area between them. When people think about the trillions of stars in billions of galaxies in the universe, they rightfully think it is huge. But add in the ridiculously enormous space in between each one of these galaxies, and in between each star in each of these galaxies and the numbers are practically unfathomable.


Wanna really get your mind blown? You know what Planck units are, right? Planck volume is the smallest measure of volume, of space, that can exist. You cannot subdivide it further. There is no such thing as ½ a Planck volume. It's way, way, way smaller than a neutrino or photon.

The observable universe isn't just that portion of the universe that we can see now with our current technology, but rather, that portion of the universe that is hypothetically observable with perfect instruments, such that the expansion of spacetime has not carried objects further away from us than the age of the universe in light years. We cannot see anything past that (assuming that there is anything past that, which is possible), no matter how good our telescopes get.

Have you ever heard of Graham's Number? It's a specific integer that is the result of certain mathematical calculations, that is so large that if you wrote one digit of it on each Planck volume, the entire hypothetically observable universe is far and away too small to contain a standard decimal representation of it.
 
2012-01-10 06:49:47 PM

downstairs: Ok, another question. If the age of the universe is 13.75 billion years, and we are able to snap photos of things 13.75 billion years old (because they're 13.75 billion light years away)... How does that work?

How could it have been that far away at the very beginning of the universe.

And what, as our technology gets better, happens if we have a telescope that can "see" something 15 billion light years away... which is older than the big bang?


The universe has been expanding since the beginning.

/not an expert
//does not know where Universe Ground 0 is
 
2012-01-10 06:50:35 PM
Yeah I just learned about Graham's Number a few weeks ago. Took me about an hour just to figure out how they write it down.
 
2012-01-10 06:52:22 PM

AdolfOliverPanties: downstairs:

How could it have been that far away at the very beginning of the universe.

Um, what?


Ok, maybe I'm not thinking right.

Lets say the universe is 13.75 billion years old. And we build a telescope that can see things 13.75 light years away.

So you're looking at a universe 13.75 light years away. Its sitting there, that distance from us. Which means we're seeing something 13.75 light years away that is actually 13.75 years old. Which makes no sense, because it wouldn't exist there 13.75 years ago, as the big bang was just happening.
 
2012-01-10 06:53:40 PM
So you're looking at a universe = So you're looking at a galaxy
 
2012-01-10 06:55:29 PM
Sigh, long stressful day.

13.75 years = 13.75 billion years
 
2012-01-10 06:58:54 PM

DeltaPunch:

*One degree = 1/360 of a rotation, so 1 arcminute = 1/21,600 of a degree.


1 arcminute is 1/60th of a degree,
1 arcminute is 1/21,600 of a rotation
 
2012-01-10 06:59:28 PM

InmanRoshi: wippit: FishyFred: Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?

It probably is.

Something to do with not being in the center of the universe. So, we can see 13 billion years in one direction, and would eventually end up seeing the 'wall' of the big bang. But since we're not going to be in the center, but off to one side... the 'near' wall is closer than then far wall. So 13 billion years one way... depending on how far from center we are, could be 20 billion years the other way....

/missed the joke intentionally.

How do you know when you've seen the "wall"?


Theoretically? The universe is filled with cosmic background radiation... several satellites have been launched to map and quantify it. Where the background radiation stops... that would be the wall of the universe.

Problem is, from inside it, you'd never see it. If you were inside an infinitely-large ball, how would you know where the sides were? And since the universe would be expanding at the speed of light, you could never get close enough to the edge to get past it, it's always moving away at the exact same speed.
 
2012-01-10 07:02:15 PM

Krieghund: DeltaPunch:

*One degree = 1/360 of a rotation, so 1 arcminute = 1/21,600 of a degree.

1 arcminute is 1/60th of a degree,
1 arcminute is 1/21,600 of a rotation


gah, of course. thanks.
 
2012-01-10 07:03:30 PM
troll.me
 
2012-01-10 07:07:13 PM

wippit: InmanRoshi: wippit: FishyFred: Here's my stupid question: If these galaxies are older than the universe, does that mean our current estimate of the age of the universe is wrong?

It probably is.

Something to do with not being in the center of the universe. So, we can see 13 billion years in one direction, and would eventually end up seeing the 'wall' of the big bang. But since we're not going to be in the center, but off to one side... the 'near' wall is closer than then far wall. So 13 billion years one way... depending on how far from center we are, could be 20 billion years the other way....

/missed the joke intentionally.

How do you know when you've seen the "wall"?

Theoretically? The universe is filled with cosmic background radiation... several satellites have been launched to map and quantify it. Where the background radiation stops... that would be the wall of the universe.

Problem is, from inside it, you'd never see it. If you were inside an infinitely-large ball, how would you know where the sides were? And since the universe would be expanding at the speed of light, you could never get close enough to the edge to get past it, it's always moving away at the exact same speed.


You're inside the ball and trying to reach the edge while someone is inflating it faster than you can move.
 
2012-01-10 07:09:51 PM

InmanRoshi: How do you know when you've seen the "wall"?


Current theory says that in the earliest days post big-bang, (up to a few hundred thousand years after I think) the universe was opaque as it was still dense enough to not allow the passage of photons. We'll never see "the wall" as such, we'll just gradually see more and more of the fog. (very simplified, but this will do)

nytmare: does not know where Universe Ground 0 is


Right on top of your head, as well as in the centre of the earth, as well as in the centre of the andrometer galaxy, as well as in the centre of the galaxy ITFA. The beginning happened everywhere simultaneously.

downstairs: And what, as our technology gets better, happens if we have a telescope that can "see" something 15 billion light years away... which is older than the big bang?


The observable universe is 13.7 billion light years across in radius. However the actual size of the universe is supposed to be on the order of 92 billion light years across.* The observable universe is only a small fragment of the entire thing, and unless we get a wormhole or a warp drive or whatever, we'll never see into the unobservable parts of the universe.

*Inflation theory says that the early universe expanded at a rate much greater than the speed of light. This breaks no laws, as it's space itself expanding greater than the speed of light, not the particles within that space.

upload.wikimedia.org

/Not a physicist
//Just watch a lot of BBC.
 
2012-01-10 07:12:17 PM
Downstairs doesn't have a lot going on upstairs. Or does he?

/whoa.jpg
 
2012-01-10 07:12:48 PM

wippit: Something to do with not being in the center of the universe. So, we can see 13 billion years in one direction, and would eventually end up seeing the 'wall' of the big bang. But since we're not going to be in the center, but off to one side... the 'near' wall is closer than then far wall. So 13 billion years one way... depending on how far from center we are, could be 20 billion years the other way....


Umm, not exactly. The universe has no center (also the center of the universe is everywhere). If you could magically transport yourself 13.1 billion light years away, everything would look about 13-14 billion light years away again.
 
2012-01-10 07:17:17 PM

COMALite J: Have you ever heard of Graham's Number? It's a specific integer that is the result of certain mathematical calculations, that is so large that if you wrote one digit of it on each Planck volume, the entire hypothetically observable universe is far and away too small to contain a standard decimal representation of it.


Drain: Yeah I just learned about Graham's Number a few weeks ago. Took me about an hour just to figure out how they write it down.


You guys are way behind the times. You have obviously not been keeping up with your science (cake, lie, etc.), because you are unaware of Scrotastic Method's number, the new Officially Certified Biggest Mind-Warpingest Thing Ever. It is expressed thusly:

[(Graham's Number) + x], where "x" is a quantity one larger than any quantity you are willing to add to Graham's number.

/times infinity.
//plus one.
 
2012-01-10 07:18:38 PM

downstairs: Ok, another question. If the age of the universe is 13.75 billion years, and we are able to snap photos of things 13.75 billion years old (because they're 13.75 billion light years away)... How does that work?

How could it have been that far away at the very beginning of the universe.

And what, as our technology gets better, happens if we have a telescope that can "see" something 15 billion light years away... which is older than the big bang?


The answer I think you're looking for here has to do with current theory on what happened after the Big Bang. There's a period of time (measured in like 10^-20 seconds still or something like that) called "inflation" where the universe expanded extremely rapidly, faster than the speed of light. I don't recall exactly how this is explainable, but apparently the math allows for it, and IIRC measurements of the cosmic background radiation support this hypothesis, as this radiation is incredibly "smooth" throughout the sky.

As for the "how far we can see" question, we can see as far as the universe is old; how long it takes light to reach us. It seems likely that the universe is bigger - perhaps far, far bigger - than we can see, because of 186,000 miles/sec.
 
2012-01-10 07:23:55 PM

Scrotastic Method: COMALite J: Have you ever heard of Graham's Number? It's a specific integer that is the result of certain mathematical calculations, that is so large that if you wrote one digit of it on each Planck volume, the entire hypothetically observable universe is far and away too small to contain a standard decimal representation of it.

Drain: Yeah I just learned about Graham's Number a few weeks ago. Took me about an hour just to figure out how they write it down.

You guys are way behind the times. You have obviously not been keeping up with your science (cake, lie, etc.), because you are unaware of Scrotastic Method's number, the new Officially Certified Biggest Mind-Warpingest Thing Ever. It is expressed thusly:

[(Graham's Number) + x], where "x" is a quantity one larger than any quantity you are willing to add to Graham's number.

/times infinity.
//plus one.


Oh, well I'm willing to add -infinity
 
2012-01-10 07:28:39 PM

downstairs: Ok, another question. If the age of the universe is 13.75 billion years, and we are able to snap photos of things 13.75 billion years old (because they're 13.75 billion light years away)... How does that work?

How could it have been that far away at the very beginning of the universe.

And what, as our technology gets better, happens if we have a telescope that can "see" something 15 billion light years away... which is older than the big bang?


Some of this confusion is because they don't specify in this article if they're talking about something that's 13.1b light years old, or 13.1b light years away. The edge of the observable universe is actually ~45b light years, rather than 13.7b, because of expansion. BUT, those few objects which are observable anywhere near the limit of that 45b light years will be just over 13b light years old.

And as far as seeing all the way back to the big bang (mentioned in your post and a few others), during the initial stages of the big bang, the plasma was opaque to photons, so we cannot see anything before the recombination epoch.

Further reading:
Observable Universe at Wikipedia (pops)
Recombination at Wikipedia (pops) (mostly technical stuff, but the intro helps explain why the early stages of the big bang cannot be observed from photons, although the former article gives some info on how gravitational waves or neutrinos may be used to look further back once we're good at capturing them)
 
2012-01-10 07:32:15 PM
Eff. SJKebab totally beat me to it.
 
2012-01-10 07:32:16 PM

Rezurok: You guys are way behind the times. You have obviously not been keeping up with your science (cake, lie, etc.), because you are unaware of Scrotastic Method's number, the new Officially Certified Biggest Mind-Warpingest Thing Ever. It is expressed thusly:

[(Graham's Number) + x], where "x" is a quantity one larger than any quantity you are willing to add to Graham's number.

/times infinity.
//plus one.

Oh, well I'm willing to add -infinity


Well of course with x being "one larger," that obviously exempts negative integers/numbers/impossible numbers/quantities/etc. I actually know nothing about math so just insert whichever terms mean I am right.
 
2012-01-10 07:48:10 PM
wippit: So, we can see 13 billion years in one direction, and would eventually end up seeing the 'wall' of the big bang. But since we're not going to be in the center, but off to one side... the 'near' wall is closer than then far wall. So 13 billion years one way... depending on how far from center we are, could be 20 billion years the other way....

The universe has no "walls" or boundaries or center like that, similar to the way that the surface of a sphere does not have an edge or a center.
 
2012-01-10 07:51:19 PM
regmedia.co.uk

Shenanigans. I've seen those galaxies before.
 
2012-01-10 07:57:21 PM
elenin.paranomalo.us

My brand spankin' new 10" Newtonian has developed an inferiority complex.

Only had one clear night of viewing with it. Pointed it at the moons bright companion star and it turned out to be Jupiter with three of his moons with him. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Saturn is haging out below the horizon, so no sighting of her yet. Can't wait to get it out away from the light polluted city and do some galaxy hunting.

/csb
 
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