August 15th, 2012
04:31 PM ET

Galaxy cluster is a star-forming powerhouse

The Olympics may be over, but in outer space, records are still being broken.

Scientist announced Wednesday the discovery of the Phoenix cluster, one of the most massive and luminous galaxy clusters ever identified. It's about 5.7 billion light years away, so we are getting a sense of it as it was at that time, billions of years ago.

The cluster has a mass of 2,500 trillion times that of our sun, said Michael McDonald, researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a news conference Wednesday. It contains hundreds of thousands of galaxies the size of the Milky Way, in addition to dark matter and hot gas.

In a race to form new stars, this cluster leaves our Milky Way in the dust.

Impressively, the central galaxy in the cluster produces about 740 new stars per year, a rate that is unmatched by any other known galaxy at the center of a cluster. By comparison, the Milky Way forms about one to two new stars each year.

The Phoenix cluster also breaks the record for being the brightest cluster in the X-ray radiation spectrum. The gas in the cluster is about 100 million degrees Kelvin; our sun is cooler, by comparison.

More from space: searching for life on the moons of Jupiter

Scientists used the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, a space telescope, to investigate clusters that the South Pole Telescope had helped to identify as interesting. The Phoenix cluster appeared unique.

Astrophysicists are still trying to understand how galaxies got their stars. Gas needs to cool down and become dense in order to form stars, but that process is still an open research question, said Megan Donahue, professor of astronomy at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Only about 10% of the gas in universe is in stars.

In other clusters, such as Perseus, a black hole doesn’t allow gas to cool and form stars so quickly. That’s because the black hole releases powerful jets, which push gas out of the way, said Martin Rees, professor of cosmology and astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, who was not involved in the research. The jets produce sound waves that release energy and help prevent the formation of stars, since the gas can’t cool.

That’s not the case with the Phoenix cluster. There’s probably a fairly massive black hole in the central galaxy of the Phoenix cluster, but it’s not putting out the same energy seen in other clusters, said Martin Rees, professor of cosmology and astrophysics, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, who was not involved in the research.

“The infall rate of the gas is at this exceptional rate, because there's so much hot gas in this cluster, it's a very big dense cluster,” he said. “This gas is raining down, and it just can’t compete.

More from space: What we've done on Mars, and what's next

So the "tussle" between black holes and gas is won by the gas in the Phoenix Cluster, Rees said, but not in the Perseus Cluster.

"It’s by studying these extreme objects, and hoping to find more of them, that we really understand the symbiosis between galaxies and their black holes," Rees said.

If scientists could observe the cluster now, rather than as it was billions of years ago, it would be an "exceptionally bright galaxy" with a black hole with a mass of 10 billion suns, Rees said. It would not be quite as blue; blue light indicates younger stars, while red light is the signature of older stars.

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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. Rous

    QullVideo on May 19, 2010 Waking up on a cruise is part of the exneirepce because you never know what the view outside your window will be. Although I can't say any of the place I've been in the Med or Carribean have been as nice as Alaska. It's cold there though, no? I do like the cold

    September 13, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  2. Ed

    Tuesday night I spent 6 hours traveling through Billions of light years with my scope and camera .
    I photographed 9 QSO objects .
    Best part of the whole trip , I didn't spend a dime for gas !

    August 19, 2012 at 2:19 am |
  3. joe

    "It contains hundreds of thousands of galaxies the size of the Milky Way, in addition to dark matter and hot gas.

    In a race to form new stars, this cluster leaves our Milky Way in the dust."

    Well of course it does, it contains hundreds of thousands of galaxies compared to our one Milky Way galaxy. What a complete moronic statement.

    August 17, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  4. LouAZ

    WOW ! That place has some real JOB CREATORS ! Wonder what tax laws they have ?

    August 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  5. m64 mcbride

    What is being seen in the Phoenix Cluster is likely the early stages of galaxy formation following the Big Bang for that galaxy. Years ago, the formation of the universe had two competing theories, Steady State and The Big Bang. The Big Bang seems to have won Round 1, but Steady State will make a comeback once science realizes that all the galaxies in the universe were not created at the same moment in time and space. The reality is, each galaxy is formed by its own Big Bang and that is why galaxies form in different shapes and different orientations. From the Steady State side, all the material of the universe has always existed, but it is constantly expanding and contracting in a "Big Bang Cycle" that sees each galaxy having independent birth, death, and rebirth. Really, how can galaxies become this spread out if the material all originated from the same place only 13 billion years ago???

    August 16, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • w l jones

      I can agree with you where the big bang get material to produce new galaxies. As an old country boy the only way you can get new material by new life.

      August 17, 2012 at 9:34 am |
      • Shane

        We've created matter from energy (albeit a minor amount of matter, but we are still fairly new at this).

        August 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Alan

      Right after the big bang space expanded immensely at a speed much faster than the speed of light and all of space is still expanding because of the effect of 'dark energy' which permeates all of space.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  6. yoda

    Klingons around Uranus!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • i am a moron

      you are a genius. brilliant haha

      August 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  7. Reemo

    As much as I love stuff about outer space, I'm really losing interest in these type of articles. They all have the same theme: "We found something" - "It means nothing to us now, but might be relevant in 100 years" - "Scientists across the country are having nerd-gasms" - "Carry on"

    Honestly, we need to focus more local things in the universe. There's still a lot we don't know about our own moon, and that's right around the friggin' corner. Seriously, we could discover more new things about the moon in the next 6 months than we could about the rest of the universe in the next 6 centuries. I'd totally be more excited about discovering fossils on the moon than seeing a spec of light that could be a start cluster billions of light years away.

    August 16, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Reemo

      *star cluster

      August 16, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • L.C

      What you are saying is forget all the resources that we have already established on Earth and thousands, maybe millions, of miles away and invest in new resources to go to the Moon... Do you think that we built a brand new telescope to look at this thing? Also, discovering something new about star clusters and galaxy formation is informational because it allows us to glimpse into the past of our galaxy. Moons provide very little information unless we wanted to do an excavation, which would probably require trillions of dollars to even establish a small colony on the moon. And NASA could probably develop more information (and technology) with a fraction of that trillion going deeper into space than going to the moon.

      August 16, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • xirume

      Join Gingrich and his moon colony

      August 16, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Vesstair

      It WOULD be exciting to discover a fossil on the moon. Mostly because, under our current understanding, there is pretty much 0 chance that there are fossils (of once-living organisms) on the Moon. If that is your reasoning... then just start digging down looking for Oompa Loompas under the Earth's crust. That would be a REALLY exciting find!

      August 16, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • AGuest9

      To go up there to study a hunk of ejected Earth mantle? What more will we learn about the Earth's crust? Will that marginal anount of data that we would collect be worth the cost?

      August 16, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Duane

      I totally disagree. Science and exploration are about stretching our capabilities and understanding. Just because something is low hanging fruit doesn't mean that it is ultimately better for you than reaching further where you may discover something much more interesting or beneficial. One thing is for certain, the universe is immense and we won't really learn much about it by limiting ourselves to our own back yard.

      August 16, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  8. BJD

    Amazing how shallow some folks are. If it is beyond reality TV they just don’t get it.

    August 16, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • palintwit

      Well put. It's why the Palins are so popular among the trashier segments of our society.

      August 16, 2012 at 9:28 am |
      • Martin

        RoachieP on May 17, 2010 Whatcha smugglin Shell? LOL..I have to say, it's gotta be the most sccteapular place I have ever seen..well kinda seen!! Breathtaking is right Jason!! Thanks for takin us along! Roe

        September 13, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Nevadajim775

      A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      August 16, 2012 at 9:55 am |
      • God

        What?!?

        A mind is a WONDERFUL thing to waste! I dropped some acid 6000 years ago and it must've been pretty good as I'm STILL seeing people. When Hofmann got here I even made Jesus move to another seat and gave His to the good doctor.

        Cheers!

        August 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  9. MakalethB

    Be NOT Deceived! The birth of stars is the serpent's ruse! There is no birth but through CREATION! Eat not of the vine of ARROGANCE and fall not into the simplistic TEMPTATION that is man's false knowing! I am the BESSUM of the CORN and the GRAIN! I have walked seventeen miles on Belial's road and drank the waters of the moon abyss! I, Malaketh alone!

    August 16, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Yup. No arrogance there.

      August 16, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Chace Fitness

      Wait... Are you joking?

      August 16, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Consuella

      +10 for the reference!

      August 16, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • darlene egnatios

      Don't preach your religion!-- Remember at one time people thought they'd off the world if they ventured too far. Technology would not work like it does if we hadn't gone into space research!

      August 16, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • M.F. Luder

      You're obviously lost. This isn't the Belief Blog.

      August 16, 2012 at 10:36 am |
      • Curva

        Love those flyers...but whtsaup with that picture of Mos Def? I have not heard DJ Evil Dee's name in about 10 years! I'm glad he's back, he's a very nice guy.

        September 12, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • chris

      I loved "Children of the Corn"!

      August 16, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • trankwill

      Oh cool, " I have walked seventeen miles on Belial's road and drank the waters of the moon abyss!" that was the androids dying speech at the end of "Bladerunner" wasn't it!

      August 17, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  10. Shamick Gaworski

    And how does watching Football help man kind? This is simply interesting and it is helping man kind understand the place-environment we are living in. Common, not all have to be interested in this of course but still no need to throw bible in it etc. In fact, believing in bible (not in literate sense) does not conflict with this, this happened billions of years ago, God could simply 'wait' ... God is timeless remember? Let's not see 'problems' everywhere, we have enough of a real ones to create new ones where they do not really exist ...

    August 16, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Gokcan

      Sabi ni East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta (in one of the forums in AdDU), the Filipinos are the most brainlilt, enterprising and resourceful individuals. Kahit nga daw sa building ng United Nations, may mga Filipino secretaries na may sideline na RTW at kung anu-ano.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  11. w l jones

    Strange indeed some scientist can see cluster galaxies 5.7 light years away and yet can not see three eartlike planets not far from here.

    August 16, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Reemo

      It's because those earth-like planets don't give off a lot of light. You ever looked up at the night sky and wonder why you can easily see stars that are several light years away, yet you can't see Mars, which is right next door?

      August 16, 2012 at 9:14 am |
      • Jeremy

        Actually, Mars is very easy to spot if you know what your looking at in the night sky...when its orbit around the sun is aligned with our planet, its easily distinguishable. Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury are planets that can be seen with the naked eye as well.

        August 16, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Ja-Coffalotte

      No kidding!

      August 16, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Ah, the American education system at its finest.

      August 16, 2012 at 9:38 am |
      • M.F. Luder

        Wondering why we have so many issues in this country?

        August 16, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • A Godbodian

      Ummmmm space is LITERALLY DARKNESS (the absence of light) Stars & Suns (what we call stars close up) produce the light... Planets dont produce light unless they are inhabited by being capable of producing light (like us in our case of Earth) or those stars and planets are at an angle where the light given from the star can be reflected.

      EXAMPLE: If you and I are in a pitch dark room with little to no light and I shine a flashlight into your eyes then throw a baseball at your face... you're not going to see the baseball until it either crosses the path of the light essentially blocking it or it's close enough to the light so that the light can reflect of its surface. Now... if you want to continue to be sarcastic about that which you dont understand... I'm free to setup this experiment with you. REALLY I HAVE TIME. LOL.

      August 16, 2012 at 9:39 am |
      • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

        Don't pander to me, kid. One tiny crack in the hull, and our blood boils in thirteen seconds. Solar flare might crop up, cook us in our seats. And wait till you're sitting pretty with a case of Andorian shingles. See if you're still so relaxed when your eyeballs are bleeding! Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence...

        August 16, 2012 at 9:48 am |
      • w l jones

        You are right traveling in deep space only see like when in the astmosphere of a planet with magnetic or oxygen in it air.

        August 16, 2012 at 11:53 am |
      • w l jones

        You are right traveling in deep space only see light when you are in the astmosphere of a planet with magnetic or oxygen in it air.

        August 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • really

      I don't understand, therefore everyone else must be wrong.

      - The happily ignorant

      August 16, 2012 at 10:19 am |
      • Bartosz

        Hello, first off all, the entire arithteccure consists of Category 6 cabling. There is no cable in cross talk, each server has two network cards and is connected to the back of the patch panel and then connected to a master switch. This switch communicates directly to the backbone switch and then through another patch panel and then to the routers.Pleasure.

        September 13, 2012 at 3:00 am |
    • Vesstair

      That is probably because it is a CLOUD with a mass about 832,375,000,000,000,000,000 TIMES that of Earth, which is pretty much a ROCK.

      August 16, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  12. Lex

    Will someojne please explain to me what this all means in terms of helping personkind to move on?

    August 16, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • snowboarder

      move on to what?

      August 16, 2012 at 8:56 am |
      • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

        "move on to what?"

        For me, it's lunchtime that I'm trying to move on to. Gonna be a long three hours...

        August 16, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Chill yo...

      We don't know yet and that's the best part. Since our beginnings the human race has been on a journey of discovery, we're curious about our surroundings. It's why we came out of the caves, went over the hills, crossed the oceans, and took to the skies. Space is what is next. And who knows what the future holds.

      August 16, 2012 at 9:12 am |
      • Reemo

        "We don't know yet, and that's the best part" is usually followed by a whole lot of nothing happening for the next 20 years. That's why space study hasn't become mainstream, yet. It'll be a lifetime before we make any type of relavent discovery that can be applied instantly.

        August 16, 2012 at 9:19 am |
      • Chill yo...

        In the lifetime of every discovery made by man there was a point in time when it didn't work or that we didn't understand it yet. That's why science is a self-adjusting process, never sedentary always changing. I'm sorry that your short attention span craves such instant gratification, but it comforts me to know that one day (maybe in my lifetime though certainly not) the very data that's being collected right now will be used in a positive and productive manor and will benefit the world.

        August 16, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      If you cannot see the value in learning and discovery we clearly have a very long way to go.

      August 16, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Chris

      This is helping us gain knowledge about something which we knew nothing about before. There might not be any practical applications we can see right now, but for many scientific discoveries that is the case. No one knew how lasers, general relativity, quantum mechanics could be used, but here we are 100 years later with GPS, computers and lasers practically everywhere.

      The question "how will his help personkind move on" should be asked about reality TV and sports. For all the billions we spend on these every year, there is no intellectual advancement and is holding humanity back from its true potential.

      August 16, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Caveman

      Space is not curved :)

      August 16, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  13. LuisWu

    Typical CNN science reporting. They get some dimwit who knows nothing at all about science to do it.

    August 16, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Larry

      How does the bible describe this process?

      August 16, 2012 at 8:38 am |
      • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

        Rather inadequately, if at all.

        August 16, 2012 at 9:14 am |
      • Ja-Coffalotte

        Larry, the bible doesn't say jack, because at the time it was written, the fine folks that made up the fairy tale didn't have a clue, they thought the shiny things in the sky were light bulbs.

        August 16, 2012 at 9:32 am |
      • Arod

        The Bible has been much ahead of science. Actually many are in confusion because they think that the bible denies science yet it is because science has advanced that we have understood that the bible is fact. pretty fascinating when you see that the bible speaks about the constellations before it was scientifically proven and speaks about dimensions and many more things like even the earth being suspended in space something that was just recently scientifically proven in the 16th-17th century was already testified in the bronze age about 3,500 years ago before there was any type of science technology.

        August 16, 2012 at 10:07 am |
      • Chris

        Now now, Ja-Coffalotte. They didn't have lightbulbs either. I believe the bible describes the stars in the sky simply as dots of light painted on the dome that covered the flat earth.

        August 16, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • DedicatedButFrustrated

      Brutal watching Ed not understanding what he is reporting on. How difficult is it to read your notes before going live? CNN has, unfortunately, steadily degraded its pool of talent and programming over the last few years. Sad to see and I hope the new CEO next year gets them back on track.

      August 16, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

      Nowadays that's called "journalism."

      August 16, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  14. Matt

    >> The gas in the cluster is about 100 million degrees Kelvin; our sun is cooler, by comparison.<<

    Why would you not report the temperature of our sun?? I spent five seconds typing "temperature of our sun" into google, and received multiple responses of 5770K. To me, that sounds much more relevant than "cooler".

    August 16, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Rob

      umm...the target audience isn't looking for specific numbers, they want concepts....

      August 16, 2012 at 8:17 am |
      • oldesalt

        I'm an engineer. I agree with Matt.

        August 16, 2012 at 8:26 am |
      • Reemo

        I'm not an engineer and I agree with Matt, too. Numbers help put things in perspective.

        August 16, 2012 at 9:22 am |
      • Timmy

        Imma let you finish and I agree with Fred

        August 16, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Jon

      5770 K is roughly the temperature of the surface of the sun. The core is much hotter than that, somewhere in the vicinity of 15,700,000 K.

      August 16, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  15. Spills

    This is a terrible video. From the guys dumb analogy of what a galaxy cluster is, to saying that the blue dots are gasses going into the galaxy and the blue dots are stars coming out. To his irreverent comparison of the black hole to our son. Why not the star sizes in comparison. And, mabey just say that a galaxy cluster is some galaxy that are close together. Im disappointied that I clicked on this enticing link.

    August 16, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Rob

      for your comment, it sounds like you just didn't understand it....

      August 16, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  16. thag

    The CNN reporter felt like a gym teacher just excited that there's tons of stars in the cluster but has no idea why its relevant, just that it's really, really big!

    August 16, 2012 at 5:51 am |
  17. YOREALD

    and the purpose of comparing our sun with the mass of 100's of galaxies called the cluster, is...talk about comparing apples with bananas...

    August 16, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • Rob

      mass is mass....period...

      August 16, 2012 at 8:11 am |
      • James Collins

        The concept that mass is mass period no longer applies,since the large hadron collider at CERN discovered the Higgs boson we now understand how the Higgs field gives mass to particles it is only a matter of time before we learn how to manipulate a Higgs field and eliminate mass from an object and therefore travel to anywhere in 0 time because without mass Einstein's speed limit no longer is relevent.All puns intended and I am no geek just an ancient deadhead.

        August 16, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

      Er, not exactly. More like comparing the mass of one apple to the mass of 2.5 quadrillion bananas.

      August 16, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  18. wcbdrummer

    2,500 TRILLION lighters?!? You just blew my f'n mind.

    August 16, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Pratham

      Great Video. Sounds like a jet engine. Personally, havnig a home data center is cool but there has to be a business justification since the electricity bill would be a major factor. I can imagine that your electricity bill is off the hook. In my case, I'm looking for a 23u rack to build a web search engine. BTW I love the clean cabling and how everything is laid out. You must a engineer. Those are qualities of an engineer. Anyways Great Video!! Two Thumbs Up.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  19. chemist

    "Degrees Kelvin" = science writing fail

    August 16, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • YOREALD

      ...LOLL...KIND OF OXYMORONIC...

      August 16, 2012 at 3:02 am |
      • Greasy

        Oxymoronic.... You say that word... I do not think you know what it means.

        August 16, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Andrew

      Ok, so I'm high, but even so, as physics grad I'm slightly confused. What's wrong with saying degrees kelvin? What unit should be used instead? From my classes in astrophysics I don't remember using a different unit. It's really convinent, because temperatures can get very cold in space. Consider that the blackbody of the cosmic microwave background is at 2.7K, that's not much above absolute zero, so kelvin is a fairly appropriate unit to work with when dealing with space.

      August 16, 2012 at 3:02 am |
      • Jackie

        He shouldn'y have said "Degrees", since Kelvin is not measured in degrees

        August 16, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • James Hawk III

      I don't know anyone who just says "Kelvins" (any more than people say "Celciuses or Fahrenheits"). When quoting a temperature it's appropriate to specify which scale one is using, just the same as when quoting any other measurement. "Did you measure the doorway?" "Yes." "Well, how wide was it?" "Thirty-three."

      Without units, one doesn't understand the answer, does one?

      August 16, 2012 at 6:33 am |
      • Marc

        What makes "degrees Kelvin" incorrect is the fact that the Kelvin scale isn't measured in degrees. It should have stated the temperature as "100 million Kelvin"

        So it's just like saying, that door is 33 degrees feet wide, which everyone knows is incorrect.

        Hope this clears it up

        August 16, 2012 at 7:42 am |
      • Rob

        no marc, that is not correct AT ALL.....temp can be measured using different scales but they are all in units of degrees....

        August 16, 2012 at 8:15 am |
      • Chris

        Sorry Rob, Marc has this one. It's just "Kelvin" not "degrees Kelvin"

        August 16, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • i am a moron

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelvin the almighty wikipedia says things like "1 million Kelvin". I have a masters degree in engineering and I have always used "Kelvin" by itself for all of my engineering coursework. I have never seen anyone say or use "degrees Kelvin."

        August 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Ralphie

      haha rob, actually you fail. kelvin is an absolute scale. you do not report "degrees kelvin", you sound moronic when saying such a fallacy.

      August 16, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Jackie

      Pot, meet Kettle. Or is it Degrees Kettle?

      August 16, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  20. reality

    @Paula D. wow..i want what your on. APPARENTLY the line between fact and fiction does not exist for u. bet your FANTASY makes u feel happy. sorry but there is a line between fact and fiction. its called science, understanding and proof. But 4 now...enjoy your fantasy...proof will prevail.

    August 16, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • TKO

      Science, though, says nothing about reality–it deals in measurement and repeatability. The stories that science tell through these (measuring and repeating) are notriously wrong–the "clock-like" Newtonian universe, for example, or the notion, extrapolated from darwinian theory that humans are at the top of evolutionary processes indicate that science is very good at isolating (reducing) physical phenomena and measuring them, but tells no viable stories about those "fact's" might mean. The stories we tell about the Big Bang, or evolution, or whatever are just that, stories, fantasies. So the question becomes what fantasies are real and what false? A rather absurd question when you think about it.

      August 16, 2012 at 2:33 am |
      • Elencia

        Science does not operate in terms of being right or wrong. Each iteration of its conclusions are slightly more well-informed than the last. For example, at first we believed the Earth to be flat. Then it was discovered that it is actually a sphere. Then it was discovered to be an oblate sphere (slightly larger around the equator). Even more recently it has been discovered to be a pear-shaped oblate spheroid (wider around the equator as well as the southern hemisphere). The point to take away from this is that all of those conclusions are by definition "wrong", but each one is better than the previous one. Definitive truth is impossible to achieve, but that does not mean that we are incapable of increasing our knowledge of how the universe operates. Theories (such as biological evolution and modern cosmology) are collections of facts which work in concert with one another to provide a larger understanding. They, like other things in science, are not elevated to the level of absolute "truth", but are instead constantly evolving as new evidence is discovered, inching closer and closer to a more accurate understanding of whatever aspect of the universe they address, just as in my example of our understanding of the shape of Earth.

        August 16, 2012 at 3:02 am |
      • Andrew

        People like you bore me. You're free to deny reality, but I tend to believe that what allows us to communicate right now is some guy named Maxwelll developed the background of electrodynamics needed to work with electricity. I tend to believe science represents aspects of the real world, which is why we obtain real-world benefits. I tend to believe I'm actually sitting at a computer.

        You can play the 'brain in a vat' game all you like, but even if we're all just in some fake reality, what could we possibly do about it? There are an infinite number of possibilities, and an infinite number of mutually exclusive possibilities too, playing the epistimolgical 'what if' game is nonsense.

        Science produces tangible results. You're free to speculate about that which isn't tangible, but that seems a waste of time and effort. By the way, science also constantly improves, or as Asimov put it in his essay 'relativity of wrong',

        "when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

        August 16, 2012 at 3:09 am |
  21. Paula D.

    God exists; it's us who don't. We are merely passing thoughts in God's metaphorical brain. Before He finishes blinking, this universe will have completely run its course.

    August 15, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Nostradamus

      Also I believe there is a Creator, but I'm not talking about the human god that your bible speaks....The word God encloses a lot more. It is He or She. It's just Force, Power, Nature. Forget the God that you find in the bible with long white hair, eyes, nose and mouth, that speaks in thunderbolts and threat to send you to an inexistent hell. You can't describe such Force under human perception. When the bible was written, authors believe the Earth was plane and the center of the universe, and the Sun circulate around her.

      August 16, 2012 at 1:45 am |
      • Falconeddie

        Where in the bible does it say God is human? I missed that one.

        August 16, 2012 at 7:41 am |
      • Xdoc

        God created us in his image.... sound familiar? If we look like his image... wouldn't he look like us?

        August 16, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • YOREALD

      The chances of there being a god are...imagine a clock of a thousand parts disassembled cast into the air and waiting for the parts to fall assembled back into a clock...imagine that...

      August 16, 2012 at 3:10 am |
      • God

        Given enough time, the probability reaches 1.

        Imagine THAT.

        See you soon!

        August 16, 2012 at 6:54 am |
      • Chris

        Umm...the probability doesn't reach 1 eventually. The probability describes the sum of the outcomes. 1 occurrence in 10^50 tries won't mean the probability for that event is 1 simply because it worked that time. Why don't you get started on this experiment and keep us updated with your results.

        August 16, 2012 at 11:00 am |
      • God

        Umm... it was just a shorthand (and slightly inaccurate, but who really cares?) way of saying that given enough time it would happen. It was done so as to avoid a bunch of tedious expository prose of the type your reply exemplified.

        And for your insolence I'm sending locusts to your house tomorrow.

        August 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
      • Q

        Infinite time doesn't mean anything is possible. If you don't believe me count from zero to infinity using only even numbers and tell me when you get to three. Just because you add time doesn't mean you get to add anything you want.

        August 23, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • LuisWu

      All religions are nothing but ancient mythology in ignorant superst!tious nonsense.

      August 16, 2012 at 8:30 am |
      • LuisWu

        ("and" ignorant superst!tious nonsense)

        August 16, 2012 at 8:31 am |
      • God

        That is not correct. Some religions are based on completely modern mythology, like Scientology.

        And by the way, L. Ron Hubbard was kidding; it was all a satire just like some of his science fiction writings, and he and I have been having a lot of laughs up here about how many people take it seriously. I mean, c'mon! But to be fair, I only made you people in my image; I didn't give you my brain (that's why most people look ok but are kind of stupid). Oh, and George Carlin wanted me to say hello to everyone for him (boy was HE surprised to get here!)...

        August 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  22. escher7

    These numbers and concepts are so huge that they are really meaningless. Who can conceptualize billions of light years??

    August 15, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • SFC Mike

      It's no big deal to conceptualize large scales.

      August 16, 2012 at 2:49 am |
    • bullet1

      No One can, and it is high time we stopped spending valuable resources on things that do not benefit us one iota.Spend this money on helping the old and infirm enjoy a better lifestyle.I can reach out and touch my sick mother in law or my neighbor who has Severe arthritis. I sure as hell cannot touch something 500 zillion light years away. This is pure madness and needs to stop.

      August 16, 2012 at 2:51 am |
      • Elencia

        Exploratory thinking is what brought us out of the caves, for lack of a better illustration. Scientific exploration and understanding provides us with the best hope of advancement for our species. Exploration motivates us to dream. Think of how many young people have been motivated to pursue science and technology as a result of the recent Mars landing. Those are the people who will provide the next generation of discoveries for us, the kinds of discoveries that will improve human existence over the next hundred years as much as scientific discoveries did over the last hundred years. We cannot even fathom what that might mean for us. The worst thing we can do at this point it to stop dreaming of what we can achieve, what we can learn about our universe. Big thinking, dreaming, imagining, and discovering are what have led us to this point of understanding. Manufacturing techniques developed originally for applications in space are now used to produce medical equipment. Memory foam, which your arthritic neighbor may appreciate, was developed by NASA for use in space. There are lots of technological spinoffs which occur as a result of exploration. Medical research and advancement are but a single aspect of our portfolio of scientific pursuits, and they are explored just as much or more than any other subject. The theory of relativity, which is vital to GPS and all of its dependents, was validated through cosmology. Are you arguing that we should remain content with the current state of technology and knowledge and merely reserve ourselves to spending our efforts only on making ourselves as comfortable as we can for the moment? I think there are greater things to be had than simply achieving an acceptable level of existence and then ceasing to advance, we are better than that. NASA's budget is an appallingly low one half of one percent of our GDP, while healthcare spending accounts for approximately 18% of GDP, meaning that we spend about 3600% more on healthcare than we do on space exploration. To be honest, that scares me. "The important thing is not to stop questioning." -Einstein

        August 16, 2012 at 5:18 am |
      • DaMeglet

        We've tried that already. It was called the Dark Ages, and it was an all-time low for humanity. Don't ever stop dreaming of the impossible. That's how we move forward. That's how the Information Age came to be.

        August 16, 2012 at 7:14 am |
      • Chace Fitness

        If you think the pursuit of science is pure madness, why are you reading a science blog?

        August 16, 2012 at 8:10 am |
      • Rob

        helping out the old and infirm is the cause of the de-evolution of humanity....all of the people that natural selection would normally weed out are being protected so they can spread their weakness in the gene pool....

        August 16, 2012 at 8:20 am |
      • God

        Sorry Rob, that's not correct. Culling the old doesn't affect anything in an evolutionary sense as old people have probably already propagated their genes by the time they get old. All culling the old does is allow traffic to move a bit quicker and healthcare costs to be reduced, so while killing off everyone over the age of 65 is good social and economic policy it's a poor eugenics policy.

        But getting rid of the sick is fine so long as they haven't propagated yet, or if they have then a retro-proactive policy of also culling any offspring the infirm may have had would achieve the same result.

        August 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  23. SC

    Black holes, hot gases and cooling causes the formation of the stars? This reporter is BSing. It's like saying one mean mugger and one nice robber make a saint.

    August 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Greasy

      Ugh... Reading your analogy has given me a headache....

      August 16, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  24. rad666

    We were just there a couple of weeks ago in our RV which is powered with a special fuel given to us by aliens. Our only concern was breaking down. It would have been he// getting a tow.

    August 15, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  25. Steve Phillippo

    It had to be created by God or nothing would exist right? Well then how did God come to exist to begin with? So advanced that he could create everything. Maybe it's like Men In Black. We are all inside of another locker... just pixels in a computer.

    August 15, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Steve Phillippo

      From nothing...

      August 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • YOREALD

      .....chances of there being a god are...imagine a clock of a thousand parts disassembled cast into the air and waiting for the parts to fall assembled back into a clock.

      August 16, 2012 at 3:12 am |
  26. Sad lack of science knowledge

    "The gas in the cluster is about 100 million degrees Kelvin"

    degrees Kelvin?

    Either the writer of this article is a moron or the editor is. Probably both.

    August 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Penny

      Lighten up Sheldon.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • omega99

      The solar corona and the intergalactic gas cloud of the Perseus cluster are both in the multi-million kelvin range. So it doesn't seem unreasonable that this denser cluster (the Phoenix cluster) has a temperature of 100 million kelvin.

      August 16, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • sheldon

      His argument is in the syntax. "degrees Kelvin" is like saying i am going to drive "100 mile kilometers".

      August 16, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • raforrester

      Yes, "degrees Kelvin". That is as compared with "degrees Fahrenheit", or "degrees Celsius." It is just a way that scientists phrase things to be accurate.

      August 16, 2012 at 1:12 am |
      • Dave

        Umm no. Basic terms in science... degrees F or degrees C exist... Kelvin is the term of itself, designated by K, unlike how F and C have the degree symbol after their alpha character. Were you to include the degree symbol you would lose points in a college course.

        August 16, 2012 at 2:12 am |
      • Andrew

        I took plenty of physics courses and never got marked off for something like that. Then again I never included the degree symbol when working in celsius either, never touched F though :P

        August 16, 2012 at 3:11 am |
      • Rob

        Dave must have failed basic science....

        August 16, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Dreamer

      "Sad lack of science knowledge"??? hmm...Speaking for yourself?? LOL

      August 16, 2012 at 2:20 am |
      • Rob

        apparently...

        August 16, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • YOREALD

      Remember that they adjust their language according to whom they are talking to for better understanding on the parts involved...loll

      August 16, 2012 at 3:14 am |
  27. Jay

    Has anyone told the mormons kolob doesnt exist? Anyone? ANYONE?

    August 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Jim

      Prove it.

      August 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  28. cpc65

    Think upon this. They say this one cluster alone contains "hundreds of thousands of galaxies the size of the Milky Way". The Milky Way, our own galaxy, contains and estimated 200–400 billion stars. It may contain at least as many planets, with an estimated 10 billion of those orbiting in the habitable zone of their parent stars. So take those numbers and times them by a few hundred thousand and you've got this one cluster..... out of countless billions of clusters of galaxies in the know universe. And my dad drove a Ford Galaxy in the 70's. That was a cool car.

    August 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Mark

      Talibangelicals will call this blasphemy. The universe is only 6000 years old.

      August 15, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
      • Sid

        Knowledge seems to be your biggest enemy. Did you drop out in middle school?

        August 15, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
      • Fritz

        Some call those idiots 'young Earthers'. I call them 'Ussherites' bcause they get this stuff from Archbishop of Armagh James Ussher of the Church of Ireland during the reign of Charles 1 and Oliver Cromwell. He was a smart guy but in trying to figure the age of the Earth from the biblical prophets was a fool's pastime. Why seemingly normal people continue to believe this intellectual garbage hundreds of years later in the face of scientific discovery is the real mystery for me.

        August 16, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • omega99

      The author states: "It [this cluster] contains hundreds of thousands of galaxies the size of the Milky Way, in addition to dark matter and hot gas."
      Now if the Milky Way contains a trillion solar masses (a low-ball estimate), and the cluster contains 2500 trillion solar masses, then the cluster can have at most, 2500 galaxies the size of the Milky Way - not hundreds of thousands. So the author is probably off by a couple orders of magnitude.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  29. Sun Ra

    Space is the place, you dig?

    And gravity ain't what you think it is, and neither is E8. See y'all real soon...

    August 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Dave

      Hail Ra!

      August 16, 2012 at 2:14 am |
  30. CHEWY

    Ha! When they quoted Michael McDonald in this article I thought they meant the guy from The Doobie Brothers!

    August 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • brian028

      Damn you are showing your age, you are at least half the age of the solar system to be talking Doobie Brothers....!

      August 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
      • Paula D.

        Yes, but iyou who knew exactly who he was talking about. lol. Now excuse me while I flip to side 2 of my Manfred Mann 33-1/3 LP record album.

        August 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
      • Fritz

        Are those guys older than Buddy Holly? Now that guy could rock. To bad he died in a plane crash. Seems like yesterday. Just missed Glenn Miller, but really liked his cool band music.

        August 16, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  31. jason

    and they still haven't observed one star being formed

    August 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • copanut

      You're kidding, right? There are countless photos from Hubble showing stars in various stages of formation.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • SB

      Jason, that is completely false. Stars have been observed at several different stages of their early lives, including some truly stunning images of the star still surrounded by the "leftovers"; the protoplanetary disk plainly visible.

      If you're talking about capturing a star in the very instant that it first lights, then I urge you to think critically about the extraordinary coincidence of timing that would require.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
      • oldesalt

        I would think a star gradually gets brighter (hotter) over a long period of time.

        August 16, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Clown-Nose

      Jason....What copanut and SB said!!

      August 15, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • SFC Mike

      Define "being formed" Do you think it lights up like someone flipping a switch for a light bulb? That you can just watch through a backyard telescope?

      August 16, 2012 at 2:56 am |
  32. cpc65

    Somewhere out there, sitting on a planet orbiting a star in a distant galaxy in the Phoenix Cluster is a highly advanced alien..... who looks just like Jodi Foster's dead father. D'oh!

    August 15, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  33. Big Mike

    They say the central cluster in this galaxy produces 740 new stars a year. So in the past 5.7 billion years this one star cluster could haved produced 4.218 Trillion new stars. Crazy if you think about it.

    August 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • swisscottage

      is that the current rate, or have the calculated an average rate over time?

      August 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • cpc65

      The rate would likely slow down over the eons.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Chris Stuber

      did we plac a bke beacon

      August 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • sheldon

      That is really cool, but I have real problems when people use "years" as some sort of reference. Perception of time is relative to the difference in velocity of the observer and the object. The universe doesn't operate in human(earth) years.

      August 16, 2012 at 12:31 am |
      • sheldon

        I forgot to mention: you should look up "time dilation" for the theory, and for practical examples: how gps satelites use special relativity and time dilation

        August 16, 2012 at 12:40 am |
      • Raj

        A "year" as a human definition for a period of time. The universe operates across an axis of time. You can call it years or millenia or gooberjoobers, but the universal clock ticks at the same rate everywhere. Now, if you're referring to the observation of the universe at one point from another point, or observing something where relativistic speeds are involved, then yes - the march of time begins to become murkier for the observer.

        August 16, 2012 at 3:14 am |
      • Sciguy73

        The "Universal Clock" (whatever that is) most certainly does not tick the same everywhere. It depends entirely how fast you're moving, and more importantly in this instance, how strong a gravity field you're experiencing. If you're in a valley on earth, and I'm on a mountain, your clock ticks slower than mine, because you're in a higher gravity field. Go visit a neutron star, and that time difference becomes substantial.

        August 16, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • oldesalt

      That was the rate of star formation at that time. Star formation would more than likely subside as those galaxies age.

      August 16, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  34. cavepainter

    This is really cool. Like a star factory. ^_^

    August 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  35. Jimmy

    The universe maybe really big.
    But it's just a charm quark in a hydrogen atom of another universe.

    August 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Alex Eastman

      may and be are seperate words in this case

      August 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
      • Ben

        Maybe they are, maybe they aren't.

        August 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
      • englishprof

        "Maybe" you should learn to spell...

        August 16, 2012 at 12:27 am |
      • Dave

        Maybe scientists concentrate on science, and let English Professors lecture them on their grammar, as the Professor's mind boils at the thought of photons existing in two places at once.

        August 16, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • RIR

      Pretty much what I was thinking. All sizes of scale are relative. The entire existance of the universe could be just a galactic microsecond

      August 15, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  36. Chace Fitness

    I love it that the CNN space corespondent was more like a football coach than a science teacher. He really didn't know any of the facts, but was pumped up about what was going on. Classic CNN...

    August 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • copanut

      I admit I was thinking the same thing watching this clip of bimbo and the guido trying to cover this story. It reminds me of Fox, except they forgot to claim it's all a hoax of the godless libs.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
      • Maty

        Yeah, science is very political.

        August 16, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  37. Vega

    That's crazy far if it is actually 5.6 billion light years away. That means where watching events that occurred before our planet was even created 4.6 billion years ago. Gotta love space telescopes. The only true time machine.

    August 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • copanut

      But you are also a time machine, Vega. You travel through time, although only in one direction and at a (mostly) fixed rate. You don't even need a Flux Capacitor.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
      • sheldon

        Wrong. Our direction/speed (or velocity) is always changing. That is one of the core reasons we even exist.

        August 16, 2012 at 12:34 am |
      • Raj

        Really Sheldon - our time vector is constantly changing? Please enlighten us.

        August 16, 2012 at 3:17 am |
  38. scott

    and now from the Christians........."gods making it"

    August 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Christian

      Yes, it is more likely that God made stars than current astrophysics theories, because to say that gas becomes more dense in a vacuum naturally (enough to create a fusion reaction no less. If it were so easy, the iranians would have done it by now) completely contradicts the second law of thermodynamics and boyle's gas laws.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
      • VJATL

        Whoa, thats a whole lot of gas!

        August 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
      • copanut

        Sorry, Christian, but gasses condense due to gravity, and gravity occurs naturally. Maybe you're saying that God is gravity.

        What's interesting is that you say something is a bad explanation if it doesn't occur naturally, and I agree. But what that means is that God is a pretty bad explanation since God doesn't occur naturally, by definition.

        August 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
      • kat

        ha ha ha lol. Too funny! I feel bad for the Cristian who thinks God made the universe. You're missing the point of the bible

        August 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
      • Christian

        Copanut, if you were in a spaceship, in space of course..., with a hole it he window, would you die or would the air condense back into your spaceship? Hmmm... You should go try this out.

        I'm not sure if you are aware of the scientific fact that magnetic forces are far stronger than gravitational forces. Even if gravitational forces brought matter together, the magnetic forces are far too strong for a fusion reaction to happen. That's why we don't initiate a fusion reaction with gravity, we use e massive energy from fission reaction to overcome the magnetic forces at the atomic level..

        August 15, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
      • copanut

        Christian, as you say, gravity is weak. My body does has gravity, but far too weak to attract gasses (on the contrary, I've been known to emit gasses, but I digress). But when we are talking about masses of matter the size of a star system the gravity of that matter will result in condensation into larger and larger bodies including, eventually, a star. The increasing volume and density of the accreting mass accelerates the process and past a certain point can ignite nuclear reactions.

        Gravity is weak, but works over vast scales of space. Magnetism is strong, but only works in very close proximity.

        August 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
      • copanut

        Christian, try this experiment. Hold two small magnets very close to each other. They will snap together. Hold them one inch apart and let go of one. Will it snap to the other magnet or fall to the ground?

        August 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
      • SB

        @Christian, at best I would describe your post as a woeful misunderstanding of the laws of physics. At worst, I would call it pseudoscience misinformation.

        August 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
      • Scott

        Christian... if you don't know what the virial theorem or the Jeans mass are then you really shouldn't be commenting on the process of star formation.

        August 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
      • Andrew

        @Christian

        E&M is stronger than gravity, that's true, but it also scales differently. The electromagnetic force, having an inverse square relationship, gets weaker faster than gravity does. That means you get less of an effect the further you go. Now, large masses will become very dense as a result of gravity, since gravity tends to operate on much larger distance scales than the electromagnetic force. As you said, because of the electromagnetic force being stronger, those dense balls of hydrogen will have a problem fusing, because gravity isn't strong enough to keep atomic nuclei together. At least, not for extended periods of time, a random collision might happen here or there, which is exactly the point.

        Physicists don't contest this at all, they are fully aware that gravity is not the force binding the atoms together in fusion, it's just not strong enough. No one claims it is.

        But what about another force? Is there another force that, in dense enviornments, that will be able to counter the repulsive force of electricity and magnatism? It has to be strong, much stronger than electricity and magnatism, because it must ensure that any particle which happens to smash into the nucleus can bind, and in fact it has to be so strong that with atoms like hydrogen, this effect will in fact release energy. You don't want it to barely capture an atom, you want this captured to be the favored lower energy state.

        Do physcists know of a magical force like this? What could possibly be responsible for holding the nucleus of an atom together in the first place, how does fusion work?

        Oh, wait, they DO have that force... it's called (for lack of originality) the nuclear strong force. What happens is these little particles called 'gluons' (physcists don't try to come up with tons of original names) interact on much smaller scales than even the electromagnetic force, so when gravity causes a dense soup, the electromagnetic force prevents it from immediatly undergoing fusion, but the strong nuclear force allows fusion to happen once you've got a dense enough enviornment for SOME particle collisions to happen randomly.

        So, roughly speaking, stars work like this. Hydrogen gets attracted to more hydrogen gas on a large scale, becoming denser and hotter (due to the potential energy from gravity) and the hydrogen begins to ionize. Now, at a certain point, compression begins to stop, because the electromagnetic force prevents further compression of the ionized hydrogen gas. Now, in the core, if the core becomes hot enough from compression, some particles will have enough kinetic energy to overcome the electromagnetic force barrier and protons will collide. The strong nuclear force takes over, and the particles fuse together, releasing energy, making the core hotter and making collisions more likely. This pressure then tends to keep the core of the star from collapsing on itself.

        Now the most interesting things come from when electromagnatism isn't responsible for helping fight against compression... that happens after supernova which generate neutron stars (thanks to neutrons being electrically neutral, the only thing preventing further collapse is pauli exclusion), hypothesized quark-gluon stars (not confirmed), and of course the famous black hole, where compression was so extreme that nothing could prevent it (happens in supernova after incredibly large mass stars die)

        Now I know you might think fusion is impossible, or that astrophyscists are lying to you... but just how much schooling have you had in the subject?

        August 15, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
      • Ruby

        Kat: You laugh? True enough that most people miss the whole point of the Bible, but it is not a laughing matter. Have a little compassion for the simple minded and the misguided, hum?

        August 15, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Christian

      Additionally, "Astrophysicists are still trying to understand how galaxies got their stars. Gas needs to cool down and become dense in order to form stars, but that process is still an open research question, said Megan Donahue, professor of astronomy at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Only about 10% of the gas in universe is in stars."

      If gas needs to cool down to become denser, how does the fusion reaction start which essentially needs energy (heat, our bombs use a fission reaction). Gas cooling down is the opposite of you need to get a star going. But if it doesn't cool down, it never gets dense enough to start either. So science actually points more toward the likelihood of a created universe than a random one. But of course, you can always ignore scientific facts and believe nothing exploded one day and here we are!

      August 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
      • copanut

        You really don't understand the science at all. Start with the claim of violating the laws of thermodynamics. Wrong. I'd suggest to take a real astrophysics course at a real university, or at least do a google search outside of Christian blogs, before babbling nonsense online.

        August 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
      • Go Ducks

        Actually Christian the heat comes from the compressing of the gas atoms, mostly hydrogen and helium. As they condense due to gravity they heat up, and as more and more pile on it gets hotter and hotter. Eventually there's enough mass piled on to the star that the temperature at the core, the most compressed region, is hot enough to initiate hydrogen fusion and that is what starts it. Not God.

        August 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
      • dan

        This is how it works,
        if one can understand science then, "about 14 billion years ago, ...."
        if one has trouble understanding science then, "in the beginning there was darkness and I said, ..."

        August 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
      • snowboarder

        the old "god of the gaps" theory is just plain lazy and breeds ignorance.

        if we don't know exactly how something happens does not somehow give proof that it was magical.

        August 16, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  39. Johnny 5

    This is blasphemy!! lol. The whole universe is contained in a pie tin made by an unknown baker.

    August 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Ruby

      Is it fuill of black birds?

      August 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
      • Sami

        slyangel July 6, 2009 “I don’t think they have any schools in phiiipplnes, its a 3rd world country they live in poverty with no running water. its sort of like africa but like a jungle.”nakakaawa yung nag answer, how ignorant.

        September 12, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  40. Tom

    OPEN LETTER TO PAUL RYAN: You suck, you Ayn Rand worshiping POS.

    August 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  41. Dave, CA

    Galaxies do not exist. It's just a liberal myth to drum up hate of the Bible!!! Sarah Palin told me so at chick fulla gay.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  42. Geo

    We see the sun as it was about 8 minutes ago, but we're pretty sure it's still there, just in a slightly different form. Same thing with far away cluster, they're there, in a different form.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • me

      Nope....we're seeing it the way it was 6 billion years ago....it might be gone, but we won't know for another 5.7 billion years.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • VJATL

      8 minutes vs 5.6 billion years? You gotta be kidding.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Go Ducks

      Ah, but if it were to suddenly explode or something for some reason, not saying it could happen, then we wouldn't know for 8 minutes or so.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  43. Aezel

    Cue the pseudoscience nonsense from the peanut gallery of know-nothing forum comments.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • dude

      Because you gave such a concise explanation right.......

      August 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • sheldon

      cue the pointless comment for comments sake.

      August 16, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  44. william

    How do they know if this thing even exists any more? They're seeing it as it was 5.7 billion years ago.....

    August 15, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Aezel

      Because we know how long stars last......herp derp.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
      • Harry Kermet

        That was a good one

        August 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
      • aezealisanidiot

        we dont know if it still exists. There are many unknowns. With the power of the fates, many things become possible...Including bringing you azazeal, back to life.

        August 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
      • VJATL

        And how long do the stars last exactly? Do they all last the same time whether they are red dwarfs or blue giants?

        August 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • scott

      ****Shakes head**** open a science text.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
      • Len

        Enlighten us who have not read...

        August 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • sybaris

      William, stay out of The Creation Museum, it's junk science and will rot your brain.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Go Ducks

      They know approximately how far away it is because astronomers have been able to measure the distance to certain stars of a known star type. These star types are all of different sizes and the rate of consumption of fuel at their cores determines how long they survive as stars. Knowing the absolute magnitude (standardized brightness, or albedo) of stars allows them to extrapolate how far away a specific star is from us. It is just an estimation, but it is one based on the laws of physics and direct observation. Once astronomers know how far a star is away the can easily compute how long it will take light to reach us from there.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
      • RobZillah

        Excited for this news either way someone's always going to have an opinion but this news is positive and cool!

        August 16, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • sheldon

      That is an interesting question; one I have had also. Why can we see that light from x-billion years ago? Could I look at another part of the sky and see it as it was (x-2)-billion years ago? I don't know enough to answer that. I am guessing though, that our life is so "short" that we have only been able to see a small snapshot (an instance in time) of the universe.

      August 16, 2012 at 12:58 am |
      • James Hawk III

        Well, there's a lot of light coming off galaxies (light is inexpensive to make–Nature makes a lot of photons), and it's very persistent. As long as it's not absorbed by something, or subject to too much red shift, an individual photon can last practically forever.

        Areas with no matter in them don't give off light–so you can't exactly see an area as it was two billion years ago if there was nothing to see in that location. (The quantum theorists in the room will say I'm wrong, and they'd be correct–but the amount of light generated by free-space pair production in low-gradient space-time is so low as to be effectively zero at these scales.) Not only that, the area you specify at a distance of two billion light years away could have something in it now–but we wouldn't know that for two billion more years because the light hasn't gotten here yet.

        August 16, 2012 at 7:56 am |

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