Revealing the Milky Way’s Center

From NASA

Oct. 9, 2019

Revealing the Milky Way’s Center

ssc2006-02a_0

Click image for higher resolution.

The center of our Milky Way galaxy is hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes by clouds of obscuring dust and gas. But in this stunning vista, the Spitzer Space Telescope’s infrared cameras penetrate much of the dust, revealing the stars of the crowded galactic center region. The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will offer a much-improved infrared view, teasing out fainter stars and sharper details.

The center of our galaxy is a crowded place: A black hole weighing 4 million times as much as our Sun is surrounded by millions of stars whipping around it at breakneck speeds. This extreme environment is bathed in intense ultraviolet light and X-ray radiation. Yet much of this activity is hidden from our view, obscured by vast swaths of interstellar dust.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is designed to view the universe in infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, but is very important for looking at astronomical objects hidden by dust. After its launch, Webb will gather infrared light that has penetrated the dusty veil, revealing the galactic center in unprecedented detail.

Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Susan Stolovy (SSC/Caltech) et al.

Last Updated: Oct. 9, 2019

Editor: Yvette Smith

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68 thoughts on “Revealing the Milky Way’s Center

  1. Billions, if not trillions of stars and plants, yet we believe we are alone in is vast universe. For such a lonely planet, we humans are greedy and violent beyond believe. I Hope the pictures from the james webb space telescope are just as beautiful

    • How can you look at this picture and then turn on us humans? After all, it was human ingenuity that made this picture possible! Also, just because there are trillions of stars and planets, it doesn’t automatically follow that there ‘must’ be other life forms out there. There probably are, but you can’t just assume- that’s like buying 10 million lottery tickets and assuming that one of them ‘must’ be the winner. It just doesn’t work like that. This is why we’re in such a mess with the green lunatics.

      • “Andy Mansell October 13, 2019 at 3:50 am

        How can you look at this picture and then turn on us humans? After all, it was human ingenuity that made this picture possible!”

        Who says?

        • Well, my dogs are pretty clever, but I’m fairy sure they haven’t been developing any cutting edge technology whilst I’ve been out……

          • Maybe they have been at the bottom of your garden looking for said fairies…I mean, they have a better chance of finding a fairy rather than evidence CO2 is driving climate change, or anything else. But give a dog a bone!

        • The evidence strongly suggests that it was human ingenuity that made the picture possible. Happy to consider evidence to the contrary.

      • I didn’t say all humans lol, maybe I used have said “a large majority of humans”. The humans, who lust for war, money, power over others, they are the ones I am talking about.. This site saved me from “climate anxiety”, so there are good humans on earth lol

        • Sunny, yeah, “we humans” would qualify as “all” in context. Minor point maybe, but still worth taking note. Glad that this site was able to provide some relief for your “climate anxiety”. Done the same for me. Hope all goes well for you.

      • Thanks Andy, It gets so tiring listening to these self loathing public school graduates with safe zone degrees from state run universities drivel on about how evil humanity is. That Sunny looked at that picture and that was the first conclusion She/he arrived at is way more astonishing than the question of life on other planets.

        Sunny you parents named you wrong. They should have named you Gloomy. I am reminded of the Song lyrics “when sunny gets blue her eyes get grey and cloudy, then the rain begins to fall…” First thing you need to do is stop painting with a broad brush and assuming everybody but you thinks a certain way. Who is this “We” you keep referring to with derision? I have never met “The We’s” You need to lighten up and go live your life. Its shorter than you think.

    • If we’re that bad please explain how more than a hundred students can quietly sit in a lecture hall without tearing each other to shreds. That’s what chimpanzees would do.

      People are quite non-violent and are very cooperative. In fact, our ability to cooperate in complex ways separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

      • In fact, the human desire to cooperate with each other may operate to our detriment when this desire is manipulated by propagandists to cause humans to join together to promote something harmful to humans like the belief in human-caused climate change.

        Humans have a desire to cooperate and conform to the majority opinion in society because that is usually the safest place for a human to reside, especially one who doesn’t have much experience of the world, or of a particular subject.

        Beware of who is producing the “majority” opinion in society because many humans can be led astray by a false reality such as human-caused climate change.

        The Democrats and the Main Stream Media presume to represent the majority opinion, and this is believed by very many people.. I don’t happen to agree with that view, and we will see just what the majority opinion in the U.S. really is come November 2020.

        I think there is a Silent Majority out there that is not going to be silent in the next election. I think the attacks on President Trump by the Democrats are going to bring them out to vote, against the Democrats.

        • The Democrats have the problem of finding something so bad that everyone will agree that Trump must be impeached. Anything less will look like a witch hunt. link

          The Ukrainian thing is receiving lots of publicity thanks to the Democrats’ efforts. I wonder if it’s going to hurt Biden worse than it’s going to hurt Trump.

          • Biden is likely finished, though we might not know it until he leaves for that giant bathhouse in the sky.

          • It amazes me how the same people who yawned over the news that Obama was sic’ing the US Justice Dept on his political foes, are going nuts over Trump asking the Ukrainians to investigate one his political foes.

          • The left has clearly over-stepped on this one, so as long as it’s settled by the election, I don’t think it will hurt Trump. The only reason it has any effect now, is that the corrupt MSM has been deluding many into believing that there’s something nefarious going on. While true, it’s not Trump’s malfeasance and projection can’t hide this for long.

            Biden is already quite damaged, so I don’t think this will hurt him much more. Besides, if you believe his ignorance that he know nothing about what his son was doing, then it’s his son who’s horribly corrupt by inferring he had influence he didn’t have, otherwise, Ukraine and China would have had no reason to deal with him and good reasons not to. However; the obvious quid pro quo related to the firing of the prosecutor investigating his son makes the ignorance excuse a bit problematic …

            When push comes to shove, Biden will be forced to either drop out of the race or throw his son under the bus. BTW, the issue Trump talked about was related to Biden’s son, not Biden, moreover the ‘favor’ had to do with help with the ongoing investigation into interference of the 2016 election by Hillary and the DNC colluding with Russia, which is ostensibly independent of the issues with Biden’s son.

          • I am not sure. The fake news filters out any discussion of Hunter Biden.

            The Chinese government entity giving $1.5 billion dollars to Hunter Biden’s start-up company is worst… and should be getting more attention.

            It will be interesting to see who wins the Dem. nomination..

            Heaven help us if one of the far left Dem. candidates wins the nomination and the election.

        • Only fed housecats do that. those that have had to live on the street for a bit go for the kill. We got a cat who was stray and was able to hunt for herself. She would listen for mice on one side of a grassy area, or on the other side of a hedge and jump ambush the mouse. A second later she would appear with a dead mouse. Then FEAST!

          Housecats also tend to just leave the mouse. Cats that do eat prey eat it like snakes. First licking the fur and then swallowing whole until no more can go in the throat. If the rat is too big, the hind legs get bitten off.

    • Since the dawn of life on Earth there has been intense competition for foods and territory.
      500 million years ago the fossil evidence is evident of terrifying predators and prey competing for foods.

      No era leaves a fossil record of conditions without aggressive predators and prey. Nor is there any evidence of places in this galaxy or other galaxies any evidence of solar systems or planets where some version of eternal peace reigns that isn’t a dead area.

      From the moments a solar system ignites a nuclear sun, every molecule from dust grains to orbiting bodies compete for space and proximity.

      Our solar system exists far out on an arm of the Milky Way Galaxy in an uncrowded area.
      Still, there is evidence that our solar system in it’s orbital cycle surrounding our galaxy’s center goes through a more crowded area of space. And that this passage through the orbital plane of our orbiting galaxy arm triggers tumultuous and violent episodes for our solar system.
      https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/800px-OrionSpur.png

      Right now, the Andromeda and the Milky Way galaxies are on a collision course. Yes, galaxies are primarily empty space, but that is not how gravity works.
      https://youtu.be/qnYCpQyRp-4
      Earth is approximately 25,000 light years from the galactic center; that’s 147,575,658,100,000,000‬ miles. Yet our solar system is locked into orbiting that center.

      When the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxy collide, two galactic centers are likely to eventually merge. Eventually, because the two galaxies will orbit each other until they fully merge. There is a third small galaxy that will join in the merge later in the process.

      Where our solar system and Earth end up is unknown. We could be thrown into cold space; we could be sucked into the maw of the galaxy giant black hole centers; we could end up in a crowded are in the galaxy where solar systems share matter and planets and every planet is surrounded by extremely bright skies and heavy UV and X-ray radiation.

      Earth is in a blessed place and time, that is temporary at best. Enjoy and savor every second, because normality is far more competitive and destructive place.

      Evolution’s maxim is survival of the fittest, for planets and life, in spite of claims that the meek inherit. Usually the only reason the meek are around at all is because they propagate prolifically.

      • That video of our galaxy and Andromeda colliding startled me at first. When I watched it again, though, I was relieved to find that I hadn’t heard it correctly. The two galaxies will collide in four billion years. I thought he had said four million years.

        Whew!

      • Where our solar system and Earth end up is unknown. We could be thrown into cold space; we could be sucked into the maw of the galaxy giant black hole centers; we could end up in a crowded are in the galaxy where solar systems share matter and planets and every planet is surrounded by extremely bright skies and heavy UV and X-ray radiation.

        Lucky for us, our species will be long extinct before any of that can happen. Now as to what might replace us at the top of the heap?? Can’t even imagine any more than a T-Rex could have imagined us.

      • Mark,

        There’s certainly a lot of circumstantial evidence. Just because you’ve never met or seen an alien (that you know of) doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We are the existence proof that intelligent life is possible and given the vast size of the Universe, being smart and alone is the least likely possibility which I would characterize as being so unlikely that it’s impossible (I’m a strong proponent of Occam’s Razor).

        We find amino acids and many other organics in extraterrestrial rocks (I’ve even repeated these experiments), so we know the building blocks of life are ubiquitous.

        Life itself doesn’t seem that hard to get started, at least it was easy for Earth. That being said, it should be relatively easy to start anywhere similar and we know that trillions of similar places exist throughout the Universe.

        There are many billions of stars in many billions of galaxies containing trillions upon trillions of planets and moons. It’s estimated than in the Milky Way alone, there could be a billion or more worlds capable of sustaining life as we know it and many more that could potentially sustain life much different than ours. To claim that it’s even possible Humans are the only intelligent life in the Universe is incredibly arrogant and this was the case even before the plethora of exoplanets was inevitably discovered. I’ll even bet that there’s more than one other intelligent species living on an exoplanet within a few 100 light years of Earth. While this is untestable now, it won’t be forever and I can’t wait to see this tested.

        Have you ever been to or seen Puma Punka? The best explanation is that someone, likely an ET, brought high tech tools to Earth many thousands of years ago. The highly repeatable precision seen in its remnants was simply not possible with the copper age tools of the time. It’s barely possible with today’s technology.

        Nearly every religion on Earth documents contacts with gods, aliens, angels and/or other non Earthly beings who originated from the heavens (the sky). In fact, such contact is often what starts a religion in the first place. Consider that Jesus Christ had the characteristics of an alien hybrid, virgin birth (in vitro), miracles (the use of misunderstood technology), etc.

        If you believe in God, then you implicitly believe that life exists beyond Earth, otherwise, God isn’t life and if we were created in God’s image, then we aren’t life either.

        • Please read what I wrote and not what you assumed I wrote.
          I never said anything regarding my opinion as to whether we are alone. I asked you to provide your evidence to support your absolute certainty that other intelligent races exist in the galaxy.

          I haven’t been to Puma Punka, however actual archeologists have explanations for all of that doesn’t involve extra-terrestrials. Ancient humans were smart, and they figured out how to do lots of things.

          I believe in God, however such a belief in no way requires me to believe that God created life anywhere other than Earth. (I’m not saying he did or did not, I’m saying that there is nothing in the Bible that requires such a conclusion.)

          • No reception of external intelligent radio signals is strong evidence we are alone, for all relevant purposes.

          • Mark,

            Asking for evidence of something is tantamount to not believing it can be correct and is what dictated my response.

            The conventional archeological explanation for Puma Punka is that it was constructed with pounding rocks and primitive hand tools wielded by thousands of skilled artisans in about 500 AD. This explanation has more holes than the IPCC’s pseudo-science.

            The lack of tool marks and the fact that the andesite rocks containing some of the more complex features are harder than the metal tools of the age (even the 500 AD claimed by conventional archeology, much less the >10K BC age claimed by others). I don’t think the precision demonstrated could even be achieved with modern hand tools. The repeatable precision is the most difficult thing to explain, especially the many small features like holes, slots, notches and tabs cut with extraordinary precision. Something else missing are rocks still in the quarry or elsewhere with carving mistakes, which given all the manual work should be very common. The large amount of precise geometric carving for what seems to be aesthetic purposes doesn’t make sense either given how hard it would have been to accomplish and the lack of any legitimate need for aesthetic carvings to be so precisely matched to each other. None of the expected attributes of free hand rock carving are evident while the attributes of computer assisted design and manufacturing are abundant.

            There are 3 logical conclusions. Either Puma Punka was an ET outpost built from materials found locally, primitive man had technological help from beyond Earth or a technological civilization existed in Earth’s distant past and was wiped out. The later explanation is inconsistent with the 500 AD dating, since if there was an advanced technological civilization on Earth only 1500 years ago, there would be a lot more evidence left behind while the >10K BC age may have sufficient room to accommodate a lost technological civilization, so there may still be room for a non ET explanation. Göbekli Tepe may provide some clues. While it’s on the other side of the world, it’s equally hard to explain and this one has been dated to before 10K BC.

            Whether or not God created life elsewhere is irrelevant to my point that a belief in God is an explicit belief in intelligent life beyond Earth. If you believe that God created life on Earth, isn’t the creator God a non Earthly intelligent life form?

            Will’s comment about the lack of radio messages is not strong evidence that we are alone. To see a signal from just a few light years away, it would need to be very powerful and continuously beamed directly at us in order to rise above the ambient noise. In other words, they must be trying to send us a signal. If we want to detect ET that doesn’t know or care about us, we should look at low frequencies (50-500 Hz) to pick up emissions from an AC power grid which at least on Earth, is the most powerful source of its continuous, unnatural, omnidirectional emissions. I’m curious if any experiments have been done in space or on the Moon to try and pick up Earth’s ubiquitous 50/60 Hz hum.

    • 1) How many people believe that we are alone in the universe? If it’s a small number, why are you attacking all humans?
      2) Care to provide any evidence to support your belief that humans are violent beyond belief? How do you know that we are more or less violent than all of these alien species that you believe are out there? Heck, we aren’t even less violent than other species on this planet.
      3) The requirements needed for a planet to have a stable environment long enough for complex life to evolve are quite stringent. The number of planets where it is possible is not as large as you seem to be assuming.

    • Two years ago, a documentary called Planets from Hell was posted on YouTube– it shows how the earth compares to the characteristics of exoplanets found beyond our solar system. By practically every measure, Earth is far more sublime than anything discivered so far. Consequently, I’d say we live in very peaceful conditions!

    • Not everyone believes we are alone. I used to think there were others, but no longer believe that is the case. Without valid scientific evidence to substantiate the existence of others, I guess we continue to take it on faith that there are others out there.

    • Speak for your self, human loathing and misnomered ‘Sunny’. Do not include me in your collective ‘we’.

  2. Good posting, CTM. Wait a minute, the center of our galaxy is obscured by dust and gas? Gas, like the evil CO2, and it’s coming our way? That’s it, in a few million years we reach a final tipping point. I think I will go play golf and have a drink.

  3. Douglas Adams put our place in the Milky Way into perspective.

    Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. link

    • Thanks, I always liked his “unfashionable end of the western spiral arm”. If he was writing it today it would probably read: “so amazingly primitive that they still think mobile phones are a pretty neat idea.”

  4. CommieBob, one of my favourite Douglas Adams quotes: “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

  5. I remember seeing the first blurry pictures of the black hole at the center of our galaxy in Scientific American. We’ve come a long way since then!

    I foresee much bigger space telescopes in our future. The sooner the better. We want to know what’s out there. They just found 20 more moons orbiting Saturn!

    • There’s no such thing as a picture of a black hole. That’s an oxymoron. It was probably one of the usual “artist’s impressions”.

      They have only just produced what they claim to be the first “image” of a black hole, which is just the result of lots of data processing rendered as an image. It looks more like an artefact of deconvolution to me. But great stuff for the press to scream about.

      • Plasma Cosmology does a lot better job explaining the phenomena we observe in the cosmos than the standard model, and it is a coherent theory – no need for black holes, dark matter, dark energy, or leprechauns. Aspects of it have been demonstrated in the lab. I have been exploring it for several years, and while there has been a lot of derision, “debunking” that doesn’t address the actual theory, and ad hominems, I have yet to see it falsified.

      • You’re right, you can’t take a picture of a blackhole because it doesn’t emit light, but you can take a picture of the very bright region surrounding the blackhole, and that’s what I was referring to (as if you didn’t know). I believe the 1974 reference below is around the time I recall seeing the first picture of the center of the galaxy, and it was a far cry from what we can see now, which was the point of my post. What was the point of your post? To nitpik? To sound superior?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittarius_A*

        “Karl Jansky, considered a father of radio astronomy, discovered in August 1931 that a radio signal was coming from a location at the center of the Milky Way, in the direction of the constellation of Sagittarius;[20] the radio source later became known as Sagittarius A. Later observations showed that Sagittarius A actually consists of several overlapping sub-components; a bright and very compact component Sgr A* was discovered on February 13 and 15, 1974, by astronomers Bruce Balick and Robert Brown using the baseline interferometer of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.[21][22] The name Sgr A* was coined by Brown in a 1982 paper because the radio source was “exciting”, and excited states of atoms are denoted with asterisks.”

        end excerpt

    • LOL, the atmosphere of the sun will probably have expanded before they get that one flying.

      I do hope they find a reliable launcher, I don’t think we will ever be able to make another one.

      One think it will be good for is looking for any brown dwarfs , lurking around our neighbourhood.

    • I have an idea…

      Why don’t we let the NA-Space-A, leave the climate to the NO-Atmospherics-A.
      Then possibly they would have the Time,Money and Effort to get the 14 year late and $9 billion over budget James Webb Telescope off the ground.

  6. Do Black Holes Matter
    Stephen Smith
    https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2019/02/06/do-black-holes-matter/

    There is supposed to be a supermassive black hole in the core of the Milky Way that is tearing stars apart.

    Black holes cannot be directly seen, but astrophysicists continue to maintain that they exist because of their putative effects. They assume that matter can accelerate and compress until it is “spaghettified”, or stretched, whereupon it is torn apart and reconfigured by intense gravity fields.

    Almost all (more than 95%) of galaxies are thought by astronomers to be home to one or more black holes. Since matter spins around a black hole at extreme velocities, consensus opinions state that it heats up from friction, generating X-rays and ultraviolet light. It is those emissions that are interpreted as indirect evidence for black holes.

    Previous Pictures of the Day take issue with that model. The terminology, itself, is highly speculative and ambiguous. To say that X-rays and ultraviolet light are created in gravity fields is to betray an ignorance. Experiments in the laboratory create those energies by accelerating charged particles in an electric field.

    There is no experiment that can provide evidence for matter collapsed to “near infinite density”. Rather, Bennet pinches (z-pinches) in plasma-state material form plasmoids. When the electric flux inside double layers within galactic circuits gets too high, there is a sudden “short circuit” that draws energy from the surrounding space. That energy could be concentrated from hundreds of cubic light years and then discharged in a burst of cosmic lightning, generating X-rays or flares of ultraviolet light.

    Instead of a black hole, X-ray radiation from a plasmoid in the Milky Way’s heart is a charged particle accelerator, so electrons spiral in the electromagnetic fields and give off X-rays. The diffuse currents then flow out of the poles and back toward the galaxy’s equatorial plane, spiraling back toward the core.

    There is no evidence that matter can collapse to “near infinite density” under gravity’s influence. Black holes are phantoms that can never be observed, since their so-called “event horizons” are impenetrable, allowing no direct observations. No light can escape, so they are invisible at any wavelength. They are pure theory, and have no basis for existence in the natural world.

    Black holes are the subject of many previous Picture of the Day articles. The short story, from an Electric Universe perspective, is that black holes are a misperception. The descriptive terminology used by researchers is problematic, relying on loose interpretations. Ambiguous lexical labels such as space/time, singularities, infinite density, and other non-quantifiable ideas, make what should be realistic investigations into a kind of irony.

    Using the concept of infinity is all over the work on black holes: infinitely weak gravity is compared to infinitely dense black holes. Such ideas mask the fact that no scientist understands gravity, or how mass is expressed by matter, or how matter expresses gravity. They especially ignore the Electric Universe.

    Since stars are plasma phenomena, they are governed by electricity and not by gravity, alone. Since stars are loads in an externally powered circuit, a drop in circuit power means a drop in output, so a star will disappear—it enters a dark mode state. Variations in electric power mean variations in how a star behaves.

    Astronomers believe gravity is their only tool, and, in their world, no force can stop the collapse of any mass great enough to form a black hole. However, gravity’s effect is so small that it is effectively non-existent when compared to the electric force. It is charge separation that holds stars together, preventing their collapse. Even thermonuclear fires are not needed for a star to “live”. The standard model of stars fails because gravity is the wrong tool.

  7. Pretty pictures are just pretty picture ….

    Astronomy is smoking hot scientifically (they are sitting on the most important discovery in the history of science) and has been in crisis for at least 20 years.

    There are currently more than a dozen independent paradoxes in astronomy …. In peer reviewed papers … any one of which should have killed the theory or forced a relook at the first decision in astronomy …

    … what changes every thing is they have finally found a hard-physical paradox that absolutely kills the Big Bang class of universe building theories for nine independent physical reasons which there is absolutely no possible solution except to look at new class of theories which is the first decision in astronomy.

    One sign a theory is dead is when It requires unnatural changes to the laws of physics to keep the theory in question alive.

    … as there is no management to approve new physics and there are a 1000 “String Theorists’ who have worked 30 years and have not come up with a single theory so really

    String Theorists should not be allowed to call their field of mathematics ‘String Theory’ as there is no theory just discussion of mathematical entities which they find interesting …

    … Also calling their field of mathematics ‘String Theory’ implies that ‘String Theory’ is a field of science rather than a field of mathematics…

    … the String theorists have moved on to the mathematical entity ‘Banes’ so they should be called the ‘Bane want to find a theory’ theorists rather than ‘String Theory’

    The Best example of unnatural science is the creation of new physics to cause “Inflation’

    … the creation of the 100,000 times faster than the speed of light expansion of the entire universe, shortly after all matter in the universe has created by an unknown mechanism, is called “Inflation”…

    … no one approved “Inflation” and there is no evidence “Inflation” occurred except if it did not the Big Bang theory cannot explain a half dozen observations and the signal which is called the cosmic background radiation completely disagrees with the physical distribution of matter in the universe. ….

    … good inflation expanses the entire universe 100,000 times faster than the speed of light, shortly after the Big Bang mechanism was hypothesized to create all matter in the universe, to save the Big Bang theory…

    … bad inflation is the name used for the reoccurrence of ‘inflation’

    The inventor of ‘Inflation’ wrote a paper that argues that his creation ‘Inflation’ cannot exist physically as theoretically the conditions to create ‘inflation’ would have happened again because of Quantum Theory ….

    …. The response to Bad Inflation is the ‘Anthropogenic Principle’ which is since we know life exists there must be even crazier new physics, Multi-universes and almost all multi-universes had bad inflation but our universe was saved as if there are an infinite number of universes then one universe could not have had bad inflation….

  8. The question of extraterrestrial intelligence is yes, unless, of course, the Drake equation is misleadingly defined and instead, it is calculating the probability of us existing. Most folks would probably agree that probability is 1. The limitation of the speed of light says it doesn’t really matter.

    • When you say, “Drake Equation,” I assume you are referring to the “Drake Cocktail Napkin Doodle?”

  9. I find the nature of light to be amazing. After many years, even billions of years, light still retains information from its distant past. The Hubble Telescope can show us what galaxies looked like billions of years ago. So given a big enough telescope (or some other means to concentrate scattered light), it would seem plausible that we could view the history of the universe back to when light first began to permeate space.

    • I think that’s right — kinda what the “holographic universe” concept is about. The issue is that those earliest surviving photons (most would have long since been absorbed & re-radiated) would be so scattered & diluted that no sense or pattern could be discerned from them.

  10. The center of our galaxy is a crowded place: A black hole weighing 4 million times as much as our Sun is surrounded by millions of stars whipping around it at breakneck speeds. This extreme environment is bathed in intense ultraviolet light and X-ray radiation…

    a mere tempest in a teapot.

  11. Always interesting to see what is there. What I would like to see is the place in space where the big bang originated. Was it in all directions or directional like from a parabolic antenna. And what is there now.

    • From what I understand, every current location was at the “center” when it happened, because there was no-where else! Hard to visualize, but we’re not built to visualize something like that.

  12. That’s a neat image. Given that Sol is approximately 8 kpc from the center of the galaxy, that image is representative of the center of the Milky Way (from our vantage point) approximately 26K years ago.

  13. The whole question of how we justify the existence of extraterretrestrial intelligent life is fascinating and completely ignores the improbable series of events that have led to themworld as we know it. Just like global warming / climate change it is a whole bunch of wishful thinking wrapped up in numerical hocus pocus. The “lots of planets” folks ignore a number of things in our history- the collision that formed the moon and not incidentally provided us with a mineral rich molten core. The not ine but two mass die offs of nasty critters that would almost certainly precluded the rise of humanity. How many of these happy zone exo-planets enjoyed these events as well? Perhaps there are lots of planets full of dinosaurs, perhaps. Intelligent life?

    • Sorry some typos

      The whole question of how we justify the existence of extraterretrestrial intelligent life is fascinating and completely ignores the improbable series of events that have led to the world as we know it. Just like global warming / climate change it is a whole bunch of wishful thinking wrapped up in numerical hocus pocus. The “lots of planets” folks ignore a number of things in our history- the collision that formed the moon and not incidentally provided us with a mineral rich molten core. The not one but two mass die offs of nasty critters that would almost certainly have precluded the rise of humanity. How many of these happy zone exo-planets enjoyed these events as well? Perhaps there are lots of planets full of dinosaurs, perhaps. Intelligent life?

  14. So.. we haven’t seen evidence of communications tech.
    Answer this. How many years passed from first use of radio waves until discovery of ability to convey intelligence by PAIRED PHOTONS?
    How long do you reckon till we learn how to use that?
    And how does that sliver of time compare in the big picture of the cosmos.

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