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11 billion years away (Image)

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  • This photograph is beautiful. Although it may only appear to be a few dark blobs in a sea of orange, it represents the greatest phenomenon in the Cosmos: the constant speed of light. The tiniest, faintest, black points in the center of the image are photons that left a cluster of galaxies 2 billion years after the Big Bang, and have ceaselessly battled the expansion of the Universe to land on the lens of a telescope on Earth. As the Universe expanded, it shifted what used to be green light (from the most ancient, long dead stars) into the infrared, more than three times redder than our human eyes can detect. This photograph is beautiful because a graduate student in Cleveland can peer beyond the mists of time to examine the ghosts of galaxies assembled at the dawn of the Universe. (12"x12" negative image from WIRCam at a wavelength of 2.25 microns, courtesy of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Archive, analyzed by J.R. Franck).
  • 2015-03-15
  • ksl:x633hq05c
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