At the Edge of Creation, and our Own Backyard

Some truly wonderful and awe-inspiring astronomy news this week.

The Hubble telescope has discovered what may prove out to be the most distant galaxy we’ve ever discovered, almost certainly among the first generation of galaxies to exist in the universe. At the link Plait says the James Webb telescope will see even further, with greater resolution. Given that 13.3 billion years (for perspective, that light began travelling towards us 9 billion years before our planet existed) is butting up against the age of visible light in our universe, I’m anxious to see what more the Webb can give us.

Possibly even more exciting because of its proximity to us, astronomers (specifically the Cassini project producing the photographs of Saturn, which I regard as some of the greatest art ever created by our species) have found a 240-mile long methane river on Titan. …All I can say is I hope I’m alive when we send probes to Titan to determine whether there is life there. I doubt there is on Titan (I’m much more hopeful about Europa), but with flowing, liquid carbon-based molecules on the surface, you never know.

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~ by kroveechernila on December 13, 2012.

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