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  • Writer's picturePatrick Rizio

13.8 Billion Years isn't that long

One of the greatest tools ever put together for exploration is responsible for the pictures above. I'm referring, of course, to the James Webb Telescope. The picture on the left shows galaxy upon galaxy indicating how full our universe is. Considering the enormous distances between those galaxies it also shows how empty our universe is. Interesting juxtaposition on how counterintuitive reality can seem to us. Of course, mother nature isn't here to align with our insights or preconceived notions of how things should be. She really doesn't care much for humankind's opinions.

The picture on the right show a tiny piece of light that is Earendel, the most distant star ever to be seen by us intelligent apes. 12.9 billion light years form earth. Amazing! It was created less than a billion years after the Big Bang, which started it all 13.8 billion years ago. Those are numbers that even our best mathematicians can't imagine. Not really. They can work with them, mnipulate them, but actually imagine billions–not happening. Ask them, they'll tell you.

The distances that make up our universe are truly mind boggling. And that's just the part that we can see. It's actually much bigger than what's observable. Also, we know it's expanding in every direction faster than light, and that expansion is excelerating. Best evidence indicates that eventually, as things get further and further apart, all of the galaxies, and the stars, and even the black holes, will "evaporate" into nothingness. All that will be left will be darkness and energy. Not to worry though. This process will require trillions of years–give or take.

Evolution is not only relentless, it is enormously patient.

Which brings me to the title of this blog. In cosmic terms, 13.8 billion years is just the blink of an eye. I guess that sometimes it really does depend upon one's perspective. Might be a good thing to remember, and not just when you're looking up into the night sky.

Talk soon,


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