Time to travel

Scientists are watching a rerun this week, and it’s not because of the writer’s strike.

back_to_future.jpg They’ve discovered the beginnings of galaxies 11 billion years ago. They’re looking back in time. Time travel, with our eyes.

Cambridge University scientist Martin Haehnelt said his team used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Chile, pointing both at the same spot in the sky for 92 hours. And they saw… the past. Because light takes time to travel across the universe, the telescopes were able to take this “long exposure,” and they discovered the formation of galaxies from the past… live…. sort of.

Concepts like this are no big deal for scientists, but mere mortals often struggle with the concept. If we can point a telescope that way and see the past, why not point it in the other direction and see the future?

If we can look at 11 billion years ago, can’t we point it somewhere earlier and solve the evolution vs. intelligent design debate?

If we can see 11 billion years ago in a galaxy far away, can we look a little more recently and find out how they turned out? “Out there” “Back there,” it’s 11 billion years later now. Perhaps they’ve even figured out how small-market teams can compete in Major League Baseball, which they probably call “soccer.”

One wonders if they’ve got a telescope (probably called the Very Wicked Humungous Telescope) aimed at us. The earth is estimated to be only 4.5 billion years old. If “they” were quicker than we were in evolving (or in being designed), and they’re 11 billion years away, are they right now looking at us 6.5 billion years from now?

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