Friday, November 16, 2012

The Deepest Time in the Deepest Space

Posted by on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 11:58 AM

This is the most distant object known to humans...

706977main_distance-record-670.jpeg
  • NASA
It's called MACS0647-JD. Its light took 8 billion years to reach us. The age of the universe is 13.7 billion years. The earth is 4 billion. Life is 3.6 billion. Humans, 200,000 years. And we are a life form that happens to be in the universe at the right time, because in the deep future the universe won't be filled with brilliant galaxies but a great emptiness that surrounds our one and only galaxy. This is the action of dark energy. It's pulling the distant galaxies apart at a faster and faster rate. And at one point in the future, light wont be able to cross the ever-expanding emptiness between the galaxies.

Indeed, if you were to fly into this future time, communicate with an intelligent life form in our now-isolated galaxy, and tell them that there are truly other galaxies in the universe, you'd be considered mad. No amount of science could prove the truth of your statement, could prove that other galaxies exist and that the universe was once filled with the galaxies we see all around us today. You would be right, the science would be wrong, but there would be no way of knowing or showing this fact.

 

Comments (20) RSS

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Knat 20
@17: I believe the term you're looking for is the Doppler effect.
Posted by Knat on November 17, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 19
@17 I think it's called fossil light.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 17, 2012 at 8:53 AM · Report this
18
Ah Charles, I am becoming a fan of your art. Art = that which expands the enclosed universe of our mind.
Posted by heartfelt on November 17, 2012 at 8:53 AM · Report this
17
Is this something like entropy? Or maybe it's that thing you hear on the freeway when a car approaches and then passes you. One of those.
Posted by sarah70 on November 16, 2012 at 11:08 PM · Report this
16
"It's called MACS0647-JD. Its light took 8 billion years to reach us."

Actually, it's light took 13.3 billion years to reach us. Since it's been about 13.7 bln years since the big bang, that means this "protogalaxy" is seen as it was only about 500 million years after the universe came into existence.
Posted by MikeyC on November 16, 2012 at 5:32 PM · Report this
Mark in Colorado 15
@13 Supreme Ruler Of The Universe:

You need a nice long hug.

Why do you have to be so damn contrarian?
Posted by Mark in Colorado on November 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Mark in Colorado 14
Mr. Mudede you are a treasure.
Posted by Mark in Colorado on November 16, 2012 at 4:44 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 13
In fact, neither theory nor experiment offers any evidence at all that extra dimensions exist.


The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next

https://kindle.amazon.com/work/the-troub…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on November 16, 2012 at 2:19 PM · Report this
veo_ 12
What really blows my mind is that what else are we *missing* from our understanding of the universe simply because the evidence no longer exists. Currently the Cosmic Microwave Background is as far as we can see into the past, it's a wall. But who's to say 4, 5, or 10 Billion years ago there wasn't **MORE** to see? Alas, those possible observations are lost for all time.
Posted by veo_ on November 16, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
hans millionaire 11
I was just reading about this the other day: "As galaxies approach the point of crossing this cosmological event horizon, the light from them will become more and more redshifted, to the point where the wavelength becomes too large to detect in practice and the galaxies appear to disappear completely"
Posted by hans millionaire on November 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Knat 10
@9: Just googled it, and I see it's an exponential force. Now I'm caught up.
Posted by Knat on November 16, 2012 at 1:49 PM · Report this
Charles Mudede 9
@7, the speed of expansion (dark energy) would overwhelm the light. i should have made that more clear.
Posted by Charles Mudede on November 16, 2012 at 1:30 PM · Report this
Just Jeff 8
Maybe those right-wingers wishing to secede could move there.
Posted by Just Jeff on November 16, 2012 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Knat 7
And at one point in the future, light wont be unable to cross the ever-expanding emptiness between the galaxies.

Why not? I'm not even a novice stargazer, but wouldn't light always be crossing that gulf, regardless of how far away its source is?
Posted by Knat on November 16, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 6
I'm not sure their science would be wrong. In a universe with no possible communication between our galaxy and another, that other galaxy no longer exists to us. It would be correct to say that those galaxies used to exist, but don't any more.

There's an excellent episode of Northern Exposure ("The Body of Evidence") where Joel argues that facts are constant and the truth changes, where Chris argues that truth is constant but the facts change. I think you're arguing Chris's side.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on November 16, 2012 at 12:40 PM · Report this
Morgan 5
The "known" universe... Why do we think the entire universe is expanding all at once, rather than some areas contracting, like the most massive black holes - down to the type of singularity that we see as the starting point of the big bang. We can't see those, because they're probably further away than 8 billion light years.
Posted by Morgan on November 16, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
4
That assumes, Charles, that our means of understanding the universe, don't evolve. That's a very big assumption.
Posted by freshnycman on November 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
3
"No amount of science could prove the truth of your statement...You would be right, the science would be wrong, but there would be no way of knowing or showing this fact."

...Except for the science of time travel, which, in this scenario, apparently exists. Just take them back in time and show them.

That said, I love thinking about this concept because it demonstrates that what we think we know about anything is based on just a sliver of the available data. We know nothing. Who knows, maybe dark matter is really composed the tears shed by a weepy father-god...Anything's possible.
Posted by Jude Fawley on November 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 2
And yet, as unimaginable as that space/time is, we are connected in so many ways.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Report this
nicholaus 1
Charles, that last paragraph is really something to think about. I think my mind is just a little bit blown right now.
Posted by nicholaus on November 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this

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