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Thread: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

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    Default NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved



    This crossed my path today NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved | Astronomy.com I thought it worthy of sharing. It provokes some questions in my mind and the question posted by a reader is a good one.
    I’d really like to see nFA weight in on this one.

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    Default Re: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

    OK. The question is as posted by the reader:

    Is it possible for there to be an object of sufficient mass and a sufficient distance away, at the time the light we are now seeing moved through the lens to form a gravitational lense for something this old, if all matter was began a big bangs singularity not much earlier? Wouldn't the mass that formed the gravitational lense have to have traveled very, very fast and be even older to have been in the right spot when the light passed by?
    I'll not comment much until later on how "big bang singularity" is an oversimplification, done that many times. But the lensing object needn't have any constraint on it's speed. It just needs to be at the right place along the line of sight to make the lens work. That does not place any constraint on it's age or speed at all.

    Now this is mind reading, which is dangerous to do. But I'd guess that the reader's question arises from the misconception that the "big bang singularity" is localized at a particular point in space. But the universe is infinite and flat and always has been according to the best available current measurements. So this "big bang singularity" is not happening "at a point" as some popularizers misleadingly state, but it happens everywhere.

    So the issue of age and speed (coming from the bang?) is irrelevant. The universe is homogenous everywhere and looks the same in all directions. So the bang is also everywhere and not just at a point.
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    Default Re: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

    PS The same work was reported on the Astrophysics Forum in the thread:

    Hubble Spitzer jointly study 13.3 Billion look back time galaxy
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    Default Re: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

    PS This "big bang singularity at a point" thing is a real annoying conceptual blunder. Let me try a slightly different way to show that is mathematically wrong.

    The expansion of the universe is simply a straight multiplication by a scale factor of all the distances. So if we look back in time we see the infinite universe at smaller and smaller scale factors. If you go back to when the universe was half as big and it is infinite now, it's still infinite, the density is just ~8 times greater if it is flat. Keep going back further and no matter what the scale factor is, call it a(t) where t is the age of the universe then (1/a(t)) * infinity is still infinity. There is no way to transition from a point singularity to an infinite universe.
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    Default Re: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

    Quote Originally Posted by not_Fritz_Argelander View Post
    PS This "big bang singularity at a point" thing is a real annoying conceptual blunder. Let me try a slightly different way to show that is mathematically wrong.

    The expansion of the universe is simply a straight multiplication by a scale factor of all the distances. So if we look back in time we see the infinite universe at smaller and smaller scale factors. If you go back to when the universe was half as big and it is infinite now, it's still infinite, the density is just ~8 times greater if it is flat. Keep going back further and no matter what the scale factor is, call it a(t) where t is the age of the universe then (1/a(t)) * infinity is still infinity. There is no way to transition from a point singularity to an infinite universe.
    I like it. Thanks for this explanation, not_Fritz!

    I understand it, but regardless...

    Mind. Blown.

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    Default Re: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

    Thanks for getting it. The reason the expansion is just a multiplication of distances is technical, it's what the Friedman-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker solution of General Relativity says must be the case. It's the only solution that is homogenous and isotropic: expansion is just multiplication by a scale factor.

    The reverse argument is that if you start with a point of zero extent, there is no number you can multiply zero by to get anything larger than zero, let alone the observed infinite extent!
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    Default Re: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

    call it a(t) where t is the age of the universe then (1/a(t)) * infinity is still infinity. There is no way to transition from a point singularity to an infinite universe.
    When I was at university, years ago, I had a math's professor who specialized in mathematics of infinity. He gave me some notes. I could never get my head around it
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    Default Re: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

    Quote Originally Posted by Slabs1960 View Post
    When I was at university, years ago, I had a math's professor who specialized in mathematics of infinity. He gave me some notes. I could never get my head around it
    The best way to deal with infinities is to go back to tha basics, two sets are equal if you can make a 1-1 correspondence between them and go from there....

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    Default Re: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

    A bit hard to get my head around but I think I understand it now.
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    Default Re: NASA images the most distant galaxy ever resolved

    Quote Originally Posted by helicon64 View Post
    A bit hard to get my head around but I think I understand it now.
    Glad to hear. The difficulty of explaining this is surely why popular presenters oversimplify the situation to a falsehood. Singularities aren't real, they are mathematical artifacts of having a theory that is incomplete in some way.
    480-277y likes this.
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