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Old 06-26-2012, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Seeing is believing, except when you don't believe what you see.


Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have found a puzzling arc of light behind an extremely massive cluster of galaxies residing 10 billion light-years away. The galactic grouping, discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, was observed when the universe was roughly a quarter of its current age of 13.7 billion years. The giant arc is the stretched shape of a more distant galaxy whose light is distorted by the monster cluster's powerful gravity, an effect called gravitational lensing.


The trouble is, the arc shouldn't exist.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,546 posts, read 55,485,543 times
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Actually, the trouble is that the reporter inserted that last line. There are many times where observations don't fit the current models. Sometimes the observations are incorrect, sometimes the models are. "Shouldn't exist" is an over-reaching statement designed to sell copy and is not a scientific assessment.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Texas
5,070 posts, read 9,078,959 times
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Here is another version of the article, minus the reporter.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,546 posts, read 55,485,543 times
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Kudos, Brian. I absolutely love the way you handled my response. You didn't get defensive, you didn't justify, you brought forth a second cite. Dang. I love that. I have no problem with being proven wrong and you did that.

Based on that second cite, could it be that Anthony Gonzalez was framing his response to get that desired response? After it, I am more inclined to think that this is the case, rather than one reporter going hyper.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,825 posts, read 20,504,794 times
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I also do not think the phrase "it shouldn't exist" was worded correctly. It should have been in the form of a question "why does it exist?"

I am not sure why they think there were no galaxies older than 10 billion years when we already know there are. We have observed galaxies as old as 13.2 billion years old, and spectrographically confirmed galaxies at 13.1 billion years old. They estimate that the first galaxies formed around 300 million years after the Big Bang, or 13.4 billion years ago.

Since this super massive cluster of galaxies 10 billion light years away is creating a gravitational lens that allows us to see even more distant galaxies, I see no reason why it could not be picking up the light from galaxies even more distant, between 10 and 13.4 billion years away.

The article does not explain in enough detail why it should not exist. Granted, gravitational arcs should be very rare at 10 billion light years, but they are looking at a super massive cluster of galaxies. If anything could create a gravitational lens at that distance, it would be a super massive cluster of galaxies.

Thinking they can use this gravitational lens to see as far back as to 1% of the current age of the universe is a bit overly optimistic, in my opinion. Reionization is suppose to have occurred around 150 million years after the Big Bang. Before that the universe was an opaque soup of particles. So it is highly unlikely we will be able to see further back than reionization.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Texas
5,070 posts, read 9,078,959 times
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I'd sure like to see this with the Webb Telescope. But for now, how about the Hubble with the Spitzer, and the Very Large Telescope?
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