April 9, 2011

Our 13.7 Billion Year-Old Universe

Ample Time, Matter And Dynamism For Life To Emerge and Evolve Once, Maybe More Often

UPDATE:  A galaxy formed 13.5 billion years ago has been discovered:  NASA's Telescopes Help Discover a Surprisingly Young Galaxy

The giant cluster of elliptical galaxies in the center of this image contains so much dark matter mass that its gravity bends light. This means that for very distant galaxies in the background, the cluster¹s gravitational field acts as a sort of magnifying glass, bending and concentrating the distant objects' light. These gravitational lenses are one tool astronomers can use to extend the vision of telescopes beyond what they would normally be capable of observing.  This particular lens, called Abell 383, was used to find a galaxy so far away that we see it as it was less than a billion years after the Big Bang. This distant galaxy's light has been warped into two, very faint images that are hard to see in this view.  Image credit: NASA, ESA, CRAL, LAM, STScI

Galaxy NGC 1300, a small part of our Universe:

A Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of NGC 1300.
Credit: HST/

For more space telescopic images of objects within our galaxy and beyond and further information on what is known about our Universe, see Our Observable Universe and NASA's article on The Age of the Universe

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