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Hubble telescope shows earliest photo of universe

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Smashy, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Smashy

    Smashy

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    WASHINGTON - The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the earliest image yet of the universe - just 600 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was just a toddler.

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    Scientists released the photo Tuesday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. It's the most complete picture of the early universe so far, showing galaxies with stars that are already hundreds of millions of years old, along with the unmistakable primordial signs of the first cluster of stars.

    These young galaxies haven't yet formed their familiar spiral or elliptical shapes and are much smaller and quite blue in color. That's mostly because at this stage, they don't contain many heavy metals, said Garth Illingworth, a University of California, Santa Cruz, astronomy professor who was among those releasing the photo.

    "We're seeing very small galaxies that are seeds of the great galaxies today," Illingworth said in a news conference.

    Until NASA's Hubble telescope was repaired and upgraded last year, the farthest back in time that astronomers could see was about 900 million years after the Big Bang, Illingworth said. Hubble has been key in helping determine the age of the universe at about 13.7 billion years, ending a long scientific debate about a decade ago.

    As far back as Hubble can see, it still doesn't see the first galaxies. For that, NASA will have to rely on a new observatory, the $4.5 billion James Webb telescope, which is set to launch in about four years.

    "We are on the way to the beginning," said astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson of the American Museum of Natural History. "Every step closer to the beginning tells you something you did not know before."

    The new Hubble picture captures those distant simpler galaxies juxtaposed amid closer, newer and more evolved ones. The result is a cosmic family photo that portrays galaxies at different ages and stages of development over the course of more than 13 billion years.

    Tyson, who was not involved in the Hubble image research, said most people only like their own baby pictures, but Hubble's photo is different: "These are the baby pictures for us all, hence the widespread interest."

    On the Net:

    Hubble Space Telescope: http://hubblesite.org/


    http://kai03.qwest.com/WindowsLive/...9D1V6T00@news.ap.org&client=landingpage&qid=0
     
  2. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    I find that stuff fascinating.

    A couple months ago I saw a show about that. Basically, the further we can see, the further we are looking back in time.

    Looking at something like that makes one realize just how insignificant the human race is.:)
     

  3. Smashy

    Smashy

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    I won't be happy until I see a big guy in a hardhat putting it all together.
     
  4. 8-Ball

    8-Ball Old Soul

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    I agree.

    I wonder how they can pin an age on the entire universe, though. What was there before there was the universe?
     
  5. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

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    A really big firecracker!
     
  6. USSOCOM

    USSOCOM

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    My head hurts when I try to comprehend the size of the universe. Remember, we are just now seeing the light generated light years ago and looking back into time. Now this hurts even more, does the universe have an end or is it truly infinite in size?
     
  7. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

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    Man, it's like our planet is just a single electron in an atom which is part of something really huge.

    :smoking:
     
  8. Altaris

    Altaris

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    I love the Hubble Space Telescope. That thing has brought us so many amazing pictures that are truly beneficial to the scientific community, as well as looking really spectacular/pretty for the average person.
     
  9. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

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    Me too. Yet so many say that the space program is a huge waste of money.
     
  10. Altaris

    Altaris

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    Those that say it is a waste of money just don't get it, and are usually so ignorant that it is a waste of time even attempting to explain it to them.

    The space program is the one and only thing that I would gladly let them raise my taxes for (assuming I could be assured that is what it was being used for).
     
  11. G36's Rule

    G36's Rule Senior Member

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    Space programs.... YES!

    Too bad NASA is neck deep in the Global Warming scam.
     
  12. Altaris

    Altaris

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    Yeah :(


    They need to spend their time and focus on Up There, not Down Here.
     
  13. ray9898

    ray9898

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    Yup...space is really the one thing I cannot comprehend. If you really think about the size it makes you shake your head.
     
  14. Zapfenstreich

    Zapfenstreich oh, come on!

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  15. eXistenZ

    eXistenZ Play it.

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    I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!! What's with this looking back in time stuff??? I've never been able to wrap my head around it. Someone please explain it like they were talking to a "special needs" 3 year old!!!
     
  16. TuxthePenguin

    TuxthePenguin

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    The light takes millions of years to get here, therefore what you see is stars as they were millions of years ago.
     
  17. crazymoose

    crazymoose Nonentity

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    Other than the sun, the nearest star (A. Centauri) is ~ 4 1/2 light years away. That means that it takes the light from the star about four and a half years to get here, so when you look at the star, you see what it looked like over four years ago. Even if that star suddenly disappeared, you wouldn't know for over four years. Some stars and galaxies are millions, or even billions, of light years away. This means that we're seeing what went on millions or billions of years ago. Much of what we're seeing isn't even there anymore.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe
     
  18. crazymoose

    crazymoose Nonentity

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    They have the satellites to gather the temperature data. They can determine aggregate Earth temperature trends, rather than saying, "hey, it's snowing here, so global warming must be B.S."
     
  19. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

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    It's not so much that we're "looking back in time", as it is that what happened in the past is just arriving here.

    Imagine something happened in Europe 500 years ago. It would take weeks for the news to be carried across the ocean to the Americas.

    Same thing here. The news is just arriving about what happened billions of years ago across the void.
     
  20. RickD

    RickD Pro-Open Curry Millennium Member

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    No headache here but my right eye is super-dialated. :wow: