Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Alien's Jam Satellites
Zooming into a small fraction of the UKIDSS UDS field, the deepest infrared image ever obtained over such a large area. The zoom shows a relatively nearby spiral galaxy. Many of the faint red objects in the background are massive galaxies at distances of over 10 billion light years. Photo: Scientific Blogging-Science 2.0
I admit it. I am completely enamored with the universe. I never tire of reading about the cosmos. Or looking up into the vast ocean of space. And don't even get me started on the out of this world images sent back from the Hubble telescope. Their spectacular colors and exotic shapes are like a fine wine, intoxicating. I don't know why it just dawned on me that when we look further out into space, we are looking back in time. Looking 10 billion light years away is the same as looking 10 billion years back in time. I am in awe of the fact that nearly everything that has been in our universe since its beginning, is still there. Really!
One of my friends is an amateur cosmologist. A cosmologist is an astronomer who studies the evolution of time-space relationships. Last fall, he attended an astrophysics conference at his Alma mater. The scientists spoke about how they were having trouble getting a good look back because there is so much interference caused by the large number of satellites in orbit. One astronomer at the conference was able to arrange for all of the US satellites to be shut off for 24 hours. Another knew someone who had enough clout to get the Russian's to agree to shut theirs down for the same amount of time. They couldn't tell military what they were doing because, well, you know, they're all about the drama. They'd have gone nuts.
They discovered a couple of large galaxies which disputed existing theories that larger galaxies were formed by aggregate. In looking at the moons of Saturn, they found one with water. Water equals life. They only needed another half hour to see what happend at the Big Bang when the 24 hours was up. The satellites were activated again ending the episode. Scientists pretty much agree that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. And now they can tell what was happening up to 10^(-43) seconds (1/10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000) of its formation.
Of course, one bloodhound reporter for a rag mag, like the Enquirer, sniffed out the part of the story where the satellites had been shut down. His take on the event? Alien's Jam Satellites. Since they found water on one of Saturn's moons, that may one day be true. But not that day.