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(Slate)   Astronomers find a galaxy at a record 13.3 billion light years distant, seen as it was 380 million years after the Big Bang   (slate.com) divider line 187
    More: Cool, light-years, Big Bang theory, galaxies, Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers, Hubble Ultra Deep Field, James Webb Space Telescope, redshifts  
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3604 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Dec 2012 at 4:36 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-12 04:19:41 PM
Each of those is an entire galaxy. And each galaxy has (to use scientific terms,) a shiatload of stars.

The concepts of distance, time, and size are mind-blowing anytime I see an image like that. I know that it all came from a big "bang" or "giant expansion" or however one wants to describe it. And I trust that physicists understand it as well as it can currently be understood. But I still can't wrap my brain around "what happened before that?" I know that all of that stuff was apparently packed into a space smaller than an atom.

So how did the tiny thing that expanded into our universe come into being? If there were previous universes/others, then when did that whole thing "start"? How was there "always something" and why?

Religious answers never satisfy me. Too simple and there's a whole lot of plot holes.

Or maybe it's like trying to explain the difference between blue and green to someone that was born blind...the concepts are too distant from my everyday life for me to comprehend.
 
2012-12-12 04:26:59 PM

ambassador_ahab: Or maybe it's like trying to explain the difference between blue and green to someone that was born blind...the concepts are too distant from my everyday life for me to comprehend.


I think it's more like trying to explain the color blue to a blind and deaf watersnake.
 
2012-12-12 04:28:31 PM

AdolfOliverPanties: I think it's more like trying to explain the color blue to a blind and deaf watersnake.


But what if the watersnake really wants to understand?
 
2012-12-12 04:40:30 PM
Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?
 
2012-12-12 04:46:53 PM

Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?


Could be but based on the evidence so far it is what it is.
 
2012-12-12 04:47:58 PM

Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?


There's always the chance. Why?
 
2012-12-12 04:49:19 PM

Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?


Which scientists are wrong about what? Science is a process of asking questions and then trying to find ways to answer those questions. Science is not like a "thing" that's just "out there." It's a process. I imagine there are literally thousands of peer-reviewed papers about what happened in the first picoseconds, nanoseconds, etc.

The math gets messed up if you set time to 0.

Charles Seife wrote a cool book called "Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" that sort of addresses this issue.
 
2012-12-12 04:51:25 PM
for all we know, half of those galaxies have since ceased to exist.
 
2012-12-12 04:52:48 PM

Lex Sluthor: Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?

There's always the chance. Why?


www.lawlz.org

Nope. Not a chance. Turtles, all the way down.
 
2012-12-12 04:53:55 PM
hmm...why do I get the feeling the big bang isn't really the true beginning???


/and thus we get smaller...and I'm cool with that. Keep miniturizing me.
 
2012-12-12 04:56:59 PM

Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?


Yes. And so do most scientists. That's why they test this stuff and not just take it on faith.

Thanks for playing. Here's your cookie.
www.trilobite.org
 
2012-12-12 04:58:11 PM

ambassador_ahab: Each of those is an entire galaxy. And each galaxy has (to use scientific terms,) a shiatload of stars.

The concepts of distance, time, and size are mind-blowing anytime I see an image like that. I know that it all came from a big "bang" or "giant expansion" or however one wants to describe it. And I trust that physicists understand it as well as it can currently be understood. But I still can't wrap my brain around "what happened before that?" I know that all of that stuff was apparently packed into a space smaller than an atom.

So how did the tiny thing that expanded into our universe come into being? If there were previous universes/others, then when did that whole thing "start"? How was there "always something" and why?

Religious answers never satisfy me. Too simple and there's a whole lot of plot holes.

Or maybe it's like trying to explain the difference between blue and green to someone that was born blind...the concepts are too distant from my everyday life for me to comprehend.


Consider that according to most of these theories, time and space also began with the Big Bang, not just matter and energy. Asking what was ‶before" the Big Bang (or what‵outside" of the Universe) is like asking what′s north of the North Pole. There is no there there. There was no then then (or there then, for that matter).
 
2012-12-12 04:58:21 PM

Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?


Maybe. But the nice thing about science is that the explanation fits known observations and is some variation of "here's what we currently think is going on. If our observations make us rethink that, we'll let you know." If anything, the field of science is chock full of people eager to overturn the status quo rather than maintain it.

Do you have a better alternative? One that doesn't just involve some variation of "make it so"?
 
2012-12-12 04:58:58 PM

Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?


A whole bunch of educated guesses take place on these things.
Nothing is set in stone. 

The answer is still 42.
 
2012-12-12 04:59:06 PM

rogue49: /and thus we get smaller...and I'm cool with that. Keep miniturizing me.


Yep. The earth is a tiny little rock orbiting one star which is part of one galaxy. That's it. Looking at images like that remind me how irrelevant earth is--and also reminds me that issues of scale are very important. It's like our day-to-day concept of distance vs. many orders of magnitude larger than that.

/Not submitter, but thanks for the link.
 
2012-12-12 04:59:27 PM

ambassador_ahab: So how did the tiny thing that expanded into our universe come into being?


I've heard some pretty interesting theories. One is that the Big Bang was basically (basically, basically, VERY basically) a whopper of a quantum fluctuation, one that would (on average) happen once every (incomprehensibly ridiculous number) years. The odds of this happening are so low that it's far less likely than sentience to emerge from the vacuum of space itself. It's so absurdly unlikely that critics have pointed out that the odds are practically zero, but the counterpoint there is that we only need for it to happen once in order for there to be selection bias. After all, we have no insight as to how much time the universe did not exist.
 
2012-12-12 05:02:33 PM

dragonchild: ambassador_ahab: So how did the tiny thing that expanded into our universe come into being?

I've heard some pretty interesting theories. One is that the Big Bang was basically (basically, basically, VERY basically) a whopper of a quantum fluctuation, one that would (on average) happen once every (incomprehensibly ridiculous number) years. The odds of this happening are so low that it's far less likely than sentience to emerge from the vacuum of space itself. It's so absurdly unlikely that critics have pointed out that the odds are practically zero, but the counterpoint there is that we only need for it to happen once in order for there to be selection bias. After all, we have no insight as to how much time the universe did not exist.


I feel like I just read something out of hitchhikers guide
 
2012-12-12 05:06:43 PM

COMALite J: Asking what was ‶before" the Big Bang (or what‵outside" of the Universe) is like asking what′s north of the North Pole.


I've heard this analogy before, but I can't quite figure out what bothers me about it. North is an adjective we use to describe one place in relation to another. But the "North Pole" is a (proper) noun which describes a very particular place. It's like saying you can't get closer to Point A if you are actually at Point A.

I guess it's just so bizarre to think of the universe as having a "beginning" and there being "nothing" before the "beginning."
 
2012-12-12 05:08:03 PM

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: A whole bunch of educated guesses take place on these things.


Not as much as you might think. There's no doubt there was a Big Bang. None. If you drew a graph that mapped the diffusion of the afterglow on a piece of letter-sized paper, the curve would be so smooth that the margin of error would be less than the width of the pencil's line. We know this because we have the data on the Big Bang's afterglow. There are few, if any, pieces of information in existence that are so precise. It's the scientific equivalent of nailing a three-point shot in Madison Square Garden. . . if you fired the basketball from Los Angeles. With, for good measure, a cannon shot from Dallas you'd need to aim perfectly to blow open a hole in the roof for the ball to pass through.

I'm talking about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, of course, which XKCD turned into his "SCIENCE. It works, biatches" comic. You really don't want to question the CMBR findings as "a whole bunch of educated guesses" if you don't want to look like an epic idiot.
 
2012-12-12 05:11:11 PM

dragonchild: I've heard some pretty interesting theories. One is that the Big Bang was basically (basically, basically, VERY basically) a whopper of a quantum fluctuation


I've heard this concept (in a general sense, I don't know enough physics to truly get it) as well. But a fluctuation in what? When I used to work in biology, a "fluctuation" would describe something that is changing in some way.

dragonchild: but the counterpoint there is that we only need for it to happen once in order for there to be selection bias. After all, we have no insight as to how much time the universe did not exist.


But if time didn't exist prior to the universe coming into existence, then what does that question even mean?
 
2012-12-12 05:15:05 PM

dragonchild: I'm talking about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation


Oh, I'm totally with you on that one. I just wonder out loud about the concept of "before," or if something had to "cause" the Big Bang. Or maybe prior to the Big Bang, there was no need for one thing to "cause" another thing to happen.
 
2012-12-12 05:15:29 PM

Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: If anything, the field of science is chock full of people eager to overturn the status quo rather than maintain it.


Good start for your Phd and about the only way you get a Noble.
 
2012-12-12 05:16:32 PM

dragonchild: Abe Vigoda's Ghost: A whole bunch of educated guesses take place on these things.

Not as much as you might think. There's no doubt there was a Big Bang. None. If you drew a graph that mapped the diffusion of the afterglow on a piece of letter-sized paper, the curve would be so smooth that the margin of error would be less than the width of the pencil's line. We know this because we have the data on the Big Bang's afterglow. There are few, if any, pieces of information in existence that are so precise. It's the scientific equivalent of nailing a three-point shot in Madison Square Garden. . . if you fired the basketball from Los Angeles. With, for good measure, a cannon shot from Dallas you'd need to aim perfectly to blow open a hole in the roof for the ball to pass through.

I'm talking about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, of course, which XKCD turned into his "SCIENCE. It works, biatches" comic. You really don't want to question the CMBR findings as "a whole bunch of educated guesses" if you don't want to look like an epic idiot.


Dear Mythbusters...

/They've got the cannon thing down.
 
2012-12-12 05:17:11 PM

dragonchild: Abe Vigoda's Ghost: A whole bunch of educated guesses take place on these things.

Not as much as you might think. There's no doubt there was a Big Bang. None. If you drew a graph that mapped the diffusion of the afterglow on a piece of letter-sized paper, the curve would be so smooth that the margin of error would be less than the width of the pencil's line. We know this because we have the data on the Big Bang's afterglow. There are few, if any, pieces of information in existence that are so precise. It's the scientific equivalent of nailing a three-point shot in Madison Square Garden. . . if you fired the basketball from Los Angeles. With, for good measure, a cannon shot from Dallas you'd need to aim perfectly to blow open a hole in the roof for the ball to pass through.

I'm talking about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, of course, which XKCD turned into his "SCIENCE. It works, biatches" comic. You really don't want to question the CMBR findings as "a whole bunch of educated guesses" if you don't want to look like an epic idiot.


...or pander to such idiots on a blog, TV show, or other flexible media.

/kaching
 
2012-12-12 05:17:15 PM

dragonchild: ambassador_ahab: So how did the tiny thing that expanded into our universe come into being?

I've heard some pretty interesting theories. One is that the Big Bang was basically (basically, basically, VERY basically) a whopper of a quantum fluctuation, one that would (on average) happen once every (incomprehensibly ridiculous number) years. The odds of this happening are so low that it's far less likely than sentience to emerge from the vacuum of space itself. It's so absurdly unlikely that critics have pointed out that the odds are practically zero, but the counterpoint there is that we only need for it to happen once in order for there to be selection bias. After all, we have no insight as to how much time the universe did not exist.


Was there time?
 
2012-12-12 05:18:11 PM

ambassador_ahab: Each of those is an entire galaxy. And each galaxy has (to use scientific terms,) a shiatload of stars.

The concepts of distance, time, and size are mind-blowing anytime I see an image like that. I know that it all came from a big "bang" or "giant expansion" or however one wants to describe it. And I trust that physicists understand it as well as it can currently be understood. But I still can't wrap my brain around "what happened before that?" I know that all of that stuff was apparently packed into a space smaller than an atom.

So how did the tiny thing that expanded into our universe come into being? If there were previous universes/others, then when did that whole thing "start"? How was there "always something" and why?

Religious answers never satisfy me. Too simple and there's a whole lot of plot holes.

Or maybe it's like trying to explain the difference between blue and green to someone that was born blind...the concepts are too distant from my everyday life for me to comprehend.


Excuse me, but the term shiatload isn't the proper scientific unit. Modern science uses the SI unit metric shiatload.
 
2012-12-12 05:20:18 PM
Big Bang happened. What came before it or caused it? Still up in the air, if they can even be answered.
 
2012-12-12 05:28:26 PM
Nope. God created that galaxy 6,000 years ago and strategically placed all the photons as if they had come from it billions of years ago.

That God fellow is a clever bastard, ain't he?
 
2012-12-12 05:28:50 PM

ambassador_ahab: I've heard this concept as well. But a fluctuation in what? When I used to work in biology, a "fluctuation" would describe something that is changing in some way.


What you think of as a "vacuum" is. . . well, still a vacuum, but it's always churning at an imperceptible level, with particles and anti-particles winking in and out of existence. Every once in a great great great great while, one of these interactions will be energetically significant (meaningful enough to measure). Every once in a bwahahahaha while, a significant event will be a whopper. Every once in a WTFZOMGLOL while, a whopper will be. . . a Big Bang. Something like that. The whoppers alone are so unlikely we could observe the visible universe for a million years and easily NOT expect to see one.

ambassador_ahab: But if time didn't exist prior to the universe coming into existence, then what does that question even mean?


That's half the point, really. We have an estimate for the time scale needed for a Big Bang to appear randomly, but since we have no insight outside our Universe, we have no insight as to how the variables work out. There's zero evidence the multiverse (if one exists) is bound by our physical laws, so our Universe may be a mere sub-atomic particle in another. This is all "have fun with it" thought experiment territory.

FWIW, I don't think Abe Vigoda's Ghost was trolling; probably meant the same thing as you. But the Big Bang Theory itself is one of the ultimate triumphs of scientific history, so we ought to give science here a little credit.
 
2012-12-12 05:29:17 PM
When a religious person tells you god did this, ask him or her why this god who can create a universe out of nothing cares about a couple of male hairless primates serving their wedding cake to some other hairless primates.
 
2012-12-12 05:32:20 PM

Contents Under Pressure: When a religious person tells you god did this, ask him or her why this god who can create a universe out of nothing cares about a couple of male hairless primates serving their wedding cake to some other hairless primates.


well duh, to test your faith
 
2012-12-12 05:39:12 PM

AdolfOliverPanties: Big Bang happened. What came before it or caused it? Still up in the air, if they can even be answered.


Wait, are you saying The Big Bang Theory is a now The Big Bang Law, or are you saying you believe it happened?
 
2012-12-12 05:39:46 PM
The discovery is the oldest news ever. Amazingly old news took a long time to get here.
 
2012-12-12 05:44:44 PM

dragonchild: it's always churning at an imperceptible level, with particles and anti-particles winking in and out of existence


Why?

dragonchild: Every once in a bwahahahaha while, a significant event will be a whopper. Every once in a WTFZOMGLOL while, a whopper will be. . . a Big Bang.


Your units of time bring great pleasure to my brain.
 
2012-12-12 05:45:23 PM

Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?


Depends. Which religion do you think got it right?
 
2012-12-12 05:51:28 PM

Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?


10/10

Now THAT is how you troll.
 
2012-12-12 05:52:00 PM
Science really can't be wrong, it only reports the evidence it has. Scientists that translate the evidence are just human though.
 
NFA [TotalFark]
2012-12-12 05:56:50 PM

Clash City Farker: Did you ever think maybe science is wrong about all that origin stuff?



Could be. Just like the bible could be a fabrication of Satan to trick all people interested in supporting God to be sent to hell so he can torture them for all eternity.
 
2012-12-12 06:05:41 PM
I wish we would focus the Hubble on planets we might actually be able to get to. I mean even if we developed speed of light travel, it would take us 133 billion years to get there? Why even bother with that one? Why not focus on somewhere that might be useful to us at some point?
 
2012-12-12 06:08:05 PM

Contents Under Pressure: When a religious person tells you god did this, ask him or her why this god who can create a universe out of nothing cares about a couple of male hairless primates serving their wedding cake to some other hairless primates.



Having spent most of my life as a skeptic, recent events in my life have led me recently to revisit my own religious leanings, and I'd ask you not to paint with strokes that are much too broad. I've decided that I believe in God, I believe in Christ. I do not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible (e.g., Genesis works great as allegory, but not as a literal account of things) and no, I don't think God gives a flying fark about gay marriage.

Not every Christian is a bigot, homophobe, Republican, or troglodyte.
 
2012-12-12 06:12:13 PM
I don't get how we can see this far back. Unless the universe has been expanding at a significant fraction of C since the big bang, shouldn't that light have passed us by long ago?
 
2012-12-12 06:12:41 PM

Bloody Templar: Contents Under Pressure: When a religious person tells you god did this, ask him or her why this god who can create a universe out of nothing cares about a couple of male hairless primates serving their wedding cake to some other hairless primates.


Having spent most of my life as a skeptic, recent events in my life have led me recently to revisit my own religious leanings, and I'd ask you not to paint with strokes that are much too broad. I've decided that I believe in God, I believe in Christ. I do not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible (e.g., Genesis works great as allegory, but not as a literal account of things) and no, I don't think God gives a flying fark about gay marriage.

Not every Christian is a bigot, homophobe, Republican, or troglodyte.


so if you believe in Jesus, how is that not a literal interpretation? You believe he literally existed but the rest of it is a fancy metaphor? I would recommend you revisit those recent events and find out why you suddenly feel the need to attribute it to the great bearded one in the sky

/I don't care about your lifestory, just don't want to see an otherwise healthy human mind fall into delusion
 
2012-12-12 06:17:40 PM

ModernPrimitive01: I mean even if we developed speed of light trave


I figure the only way humans could ever really explore the universe "star-trek-style" would be to discover and develop some manner of travel that is considerably faster than the speed of light.

OR

If the religious people are correct, then I hope you get like a "Q&A" session with God after you die, so I can ask God to explain everything.
 
2012-12-12 06:18:37 PM

Fish in a Barrel: I don't get how we can see this far back. Unless the universe has been expanding at a significant fraction of C since the big bang, shouldn't that light have passed us by long ago?


I just crunched the numbers and I came up with 80085
 
2012-12-12 06:18:51 PM

ModernPrimitive01: I wish we would focus the Hubble on planets we might actually be able to get to. I mean even if we developed speed of light travel, it would take us 133 billion years to get there? Why even bother with that one? Why not focus on somewhere that might be useful to us at some point?


Because by "us" you must mean "the folks back home." At relativistic speeds, there are plenty of stars we can reach within human lifespans.

Time dilation. It's a thing.

/ Work that tau, baby. Yeah... just like that.
 
2012-12-12 06:20:46 PM

ambassador_ahab: ModernPrimitive01: I mean even if we developed speed of light trave

I figure the only way humans could ever really explore the universe "star-trek-style" would be to discover and develop some manner of travel that is considerably faster than the speed of light.


No, we could do it if we could develop a working Broussard drive. What it would mean is that you could jet about the universe exploring stars, but you could never come home, as everyone you know would be centuries dead.

You don't need FTL. You need relativistic velocity and a willingness to abandon every single thing on Earth forever.
 
2012-12-12 06:21:39 PM
...a soul-crushing 13.3 billion light years away

A soul crushing repeat from last month, maybe
 
2012-12-12 06:22:08 PM
What if every galaxy in the universe has been destroyed or gone dark but we don't know because the light is still traveling to us? We could be the last galaxy in existence and not even know it.
 
2012-12-12 06:23:17 PM

Fish in a Barrel: I don't get how we can see this far back. Unless the universe has been expanding at a significant fraction of C since the big bang, shouldn't that light have passed us by long ago?


It is expanding at almost C speed in all directions, I think. That is, two points in the opposite ends of the universe are getting farther from each other at almost 2xC.
 
2012-12-12 06:23:58 PM

Rent Party: You need relativistic velocity and a willingness to abandon every single thing on Earth forever.


Meh, my best Earth days are behind me anyways.
 
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