Scientists measure the universe’s first starlight
Scientists used high-energy radiation from blazars to measure the light from the first stars.
November 1st, 2012
02:01 PM ET

Scientists measure the universe’s first starlight

By Elizabeth Landau, CNN

The universe was just a kid at 4 billion years old. Thursday, scientists said that they have a measurement for all of the light that was around at that time that’s still traveling to us.

It’s called the extragalactic background light. This includes light from stars that existed when the universe was even younger than 4 billion years old. Researchers report in the journal Science that this can help with understanding how stars formed and how galaxies evolved.

“I think it’s amazing to be able to probe our universe when it was so young, when the very first stars formed," said Marco Ajello, researcher at Stanford University and study co-author.

Researchers write in the study that there have been several attempts in the past to detect this phenomenon, but none were successful.

The finding is important for estimating the number of smaller, fainter galaxies that current telescopes cannot detect, said Claude-Andre Faucher-Giguere, researcher in the Department of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study.

Here’s why: Every telescope has limitations, especially its size. So astronomers can use them to detect the big, luminous galaxies, but there are more galaxies that the tools will miss.

“Studying the extragalactic background light allows us to overcome this limitation, because the background light is the sum of the light produced by all galaxies, including the ones that are too faint to be detected individually by traditional methods,” he said.

How they did it

To study this, scientists focused their efforts at high-energy gamma rays using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Specifically, they looked at “blazars,” which are galactic nuclei that spew jets associated with supermassive black holes.

When this extragalactic background light absorbs gamma rays, the process produces electron-positron pairs. A positron is an anti-matter particle.

This is the inverse reaction from what’s described in Dan Brown’s novel “Angels and Demons,” explains Faucher-Giguere. In that book, the villains’ bomb would harness the extraordinary energy from matter and anti-matter annihilating each other.

Based on how many gamma rays are expected to be present, compared to how many were observed, scientists calculated the number of gamma rays that appeared to be absorbed by the starlight from the early universe.

In that sense, these gamma-ray sources are like “lighthouses” and the starlight is like the fog, Ajello said. Scientists know that starlight is absorbing the gamma rays when the "lighthouse" is dimmer.

Scientists can therefore add up the light from the galaxies they can detect, and compare that to the extragalactic background light. This subtraction is a clue to how many galaxies we haven’t yet directly detected with our telescopes, and how luminous they are, Faucher-Giguere said.

According to this study, the galaxies observed directly via telescope accounts for most of the extragalactic background light measured. That means there cannot be much more light coming from fainter galaxies, Faucher-Giguere explains. This also puts limits on how many black holes and massive stars were in the early universe.

“This is a new and unique constraint that all future models of galaxy and black hole evolution will have to satisfy,” Faucher-Giguere said.

An extremely powerful telescope is required to support and complement these findings by directly observing the first galaxies. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, whose launch is scheduled for 2018, may do the trick.

"The Webb telescope will open a completely new era," Ajello said at a NASA press briefing Thursday.

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Filed under: Discoveries • News
soundoff (679 Responses)
  1. lordpet

    how can this be true when God created the universe 6000 years ago? It must all be lies! Lies, I tell you! Lies to turn you away from the truth of a book that was written thousands of years ago, before humanity even knew what stars were! Maybe those are more lies! God, the Great Deceiver, filling the universe with lies to test your faith!

    November 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  2. when my doG looks in the mirror he sees God

    science vs religion is like two magnets repelling each other.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • dconklin58

      >"science vs religion is like two magnets repelling each other."

      The early modern scientists, like Galileo and Newton, sought to use science as a way of understanding the workings of God. It was only after Darwin that an antisupernatural presupposition came in and disconnected the two.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  3. humble

    All this talk about the beginning of our universe neglects the meaning of infinity. Infinity of time suggests the true meaning of "always". If the Cosmos was always present, then a discussion of creation and creator is meaningless. I am humble enough to say, that as a human being, it is outside of my capabilities to comprehend this, no more than a two dimensional being could understand a three dimensional world. The effort of science to make sense of the unexplainable deserves our appreciation, as it helps to enhance our life. The question of what the meaning of life is under such a world view should not be used as an argument against this view. We just don't know, and will never know. All I know for myself is, that it gives me a peace of mind that cannot be improved by any religion that is based on a creator.

    November 3, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  4. Holy Moley

    Prime, I am on here to raise the blood pressure of folks like yourself that believe in science so strongly that you spew obscenities and call people names and pull science rhetoric out of your rectum to make people think your are smart. And that you agree with these so called scientists and feel that you are superior to everyone that might have a different belief. I think you probably are of low intellect and feel you need to cut people down that do not believe the way you do. It is really sad that we have people that will not allow a discussion to take place without name calling and cursing.
    Oh, and BTW I am a scientist and I’m just YANKIN YOUR CHAIN!
    G'day Mate!

    November 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  5. Holy Moley

    Prime, I just figured out who you are. You are that new Scientific Rapper that put out the new single “Thumper Killer”. I have your new CD and it has some good hits on it, like “Nuttin in da bibble I knoe” and “It’s jus scionz Fax”.

    November 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  6. ROMNEY 2012 AND FOREVER AMEN

    Vote for Mitt Romney otherwise you are a Communist and should be run out of America!

    November 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • dconklin58

      >"Vote for Mitt Romney otherwise you are a Communist and should be run out of America!"

      How unAmerican of you–get out!

      November 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  7. Holy Moley

    We have all been sharing that half a brain cell way too long. Most of science is made up of theories and these theories will never be proven (especially with the intelligence level is dropping like the DOW a few years ago), much like theory of electron flow, the theory of relativity and the existence God. Just to name a few. Give a person a Computer, Google and Wikipedia and they immediately know everything. Grow a BRAIN and think for yourself!!!

    November 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Primewonk

      You have a computer. You have the internet. You have Google.

      And yet, you don't seem to have a fucking clue what a scientific theory is, or what the scientific method is. It's bad enough to choose to purposefully be ignornt. But you wear that ignorance as a badge of honor.

      November 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • Holy Moley

        Well you are helping to prove the theory that there is no intellegent life on this planet.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
      • Primewonk

        Sorry Wholy, but I'm not the ignorant nutter who is too fucking stupid to know what a scientific theory is.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  8. Mycenia

    It always makes me cringe when people use the words "prove" or "proof" when it comes to religion or the lack-thereof. For the sake of rational people, please limit your ignorance to private conversations. There has never been a lick of proof that God exists. A lack of scientific explanation does not auto-default to creationism. Likewise, none of the scientific discoveries we have made have disproved the existence of a god. The may have diminished the various views of creation, like the Judeo-Christian's 7 days, but only if you're looking at them with strict interpretations. If you want to believe in something, do it. If you want to believe in nothing, do it. But to ridicule one another simply accentuates your own misgivings. No one is going to know truth until they die... And if the Buddhists have is right, you may not even know then...

    November 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  9. paul321

    The point of origin for the big bang is everywhere – there is no single point you can identify and say thats where it was – the big bang created space so every point that you can point to today was at the point of origin.

    November 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  10. Badly-Bent

    He's blinding me with science.

    November 2, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  11. Hand in Hand

    My opinion: What most religious/non-religious people fail to realize is that science has finally grown to the point where it has started proving biblical statements as facts. The "Genesis Code" movie, is a good example of how this excellent article, which is true, lends legitimacy to biblical statements in Genesis, that are being proved as true. Check out the movie...poor acting, but interesting take on how the facts in this article, some evolutionary ideas and Big Bang theory all legitimize a biblical creation theory. If nothing else, that theory put out in the movie makes you see how this article is accurate.

    November 2, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • sixsixsheep

      What that does is change the bible to fit modern ideas and theories. I can't say this is a bad thing because it's better than denying scientific truths. However, this doesn't add any more legitimacy to the bible. What if you said that the bible supported evolution and the big bang theory two hundred years ago? The bible was the same then as it is now. You would be excommunicated for blasphemy.

      November 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Primewonk

      You speak of "creation theory". Can you provide a citation to the peer-reviewed scientific article published in a referred scientific journal that sets forth this theory?

      I'm sorry, but your god was incredibly scientifically ignorant. He gets the entire "creation" thing wrong. Even worse, there are 2 different mutually exclusive creation myths in Genesis 1 and 2.

      In fact, your god gets the very first verse of the very first chapter of the very first book completely wrong. The earth was most certainly NOT created in the beginning. In fact the earth didn't form until 9,000,000,000 years had passed. And the earth formed from the accretion disk formed from the detritus from earlier generationsof stars that went supernova. Stars that your bible states didn't form until the 4th day after the earth formed.

      Your god also stated that light formed in the beginning. Yet your god failed to create any photon emitting sources. The early universe was way too hot and way to dense for there to be light. The universe had to expand and cool for 300,000 years before there was visible light.

      Your god has liquid water on the surface of the earth, without the sun to provide enough heat energy for water to exist in liquid form. Your god has plants existing on land before there was a photon source to drive photosynthesis, or a heat souce to allow them to exist.

      Your god has birds appearing on earth before land animals. Yet we know that birds evolvved from terrestrial animals.

      Your god has a woman created from the rib of a man. This would have resulted in Eva being a genetic clone of Adam. She would have had the same XY chromosome pattern seeen in males instead of the XX pattern seen in females. Your Eve would have been a dude. Albeit a dude with one magic vàgina. Your god then has all humans descending from this single breeding pair. And we know from the science of population genetics, that this is impossible. The species would have gone extinct after jusst a couple generations.

      Seriously – your god screwed everything up.

      November 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
      • dconklin58

        >"Even worse, there are 2 different mutually exclusive creation myths in Genesis 1 and 2."

        Nope; see K. A. Kitchen's book on the Ancient Orient. It was normal practice back then to state the same thing twice from a different perspective.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • dconklin58

        >"Your god has liquid water on the surface of the earth, without the sun to provide enough heat energy for water to exist in liquid form."

        Who said that there was no sun? A simplistic reading of verses 2-5 might conclude that. But you have to remember that this was written as a poem (to make it easier to memorize). What He was actually doing was setting a spin on the earth so that it rotated.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
      • Primewonk

        Sorry, those are the words from your bible. You are doing what many fundiot nutters do, spin things in order to justify what you believe. Your god was a scientificlly ignorant cretin.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
      • dconklin58

        >"Sorry, those are the words from your bible. "

        Words yes. meaning no–those are in your, as you say, "ignorant cretin" head.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
      • Holy Moley

        Don't pay any attention to Primedonk, he is just a pseudo scientist with sand in his Va&ina.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
      • Primewonk

        And yet, Holy, you're the one who is a scientifically ignorant cretin

        November 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • dconklin58

        >"you're the one who is a scientifically ignorant cretin"

        Yet another "ignorant cretin" who just can't let a minute go by without revealing who he/she really is.

        November 2, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • Holy Moley

        You know Prime, if you were really intellegent you could state your pseudo science knowledge without calling people stupid, ignorant and using curse words. But of course you were not given full acces to use of your brain.

        November 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
      • dconklin58

        >"if you were really intellegent you could state your pseudo science knowledge without calling people stupid, ignorant and using curse words."

        Your assumption is wrong. Never, ever assume.

        November 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • Primewonk

        @ conklin & Holy – here is the problem. This isn't the first rodeo for any of us. I've been fighting funamentalist idiocy on the interwebz for gpoing on 20 years. Like many from my side of the fence, I was quiet, nice, and patient. But over time it became painfully apparent that you folks had no intention of learning anything. Why would folks who were ignorant about science come onto science boards and post lie after lie about science. We could track you nutters. You'd show up on thread after thread – posting the same things – if we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys – it's just a theory – scientists claim every thing came from nothing – what exploded, etc. Oft times, we would patiently give you answers and include links to peer-reviewed sources. But then, low and behold, the exact same nutter would turn up on the next science thread and post the exact same crap. You nutters weren't/aren't on a science thread to learn anything. You're there to spew inane lies. For some reason, you think lying, as long as it's in the name of your god, is a good thing.

        Freaking amazing. You fucking nutters have no shame.

        November 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
      • Holy Moley

        Prime, I just figured out who you are. You are that new Scientific Rapper that put out the new single “Thumper Killer”. I have your new CD and it has some good hits on it, like “Nuttin in da bibble I knoe” and “It’s jus scionz Fax”.

        November 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
      • Holy Moley

        Prime, I am on here to raise the blood pressure of folks like yourself that believe in science so strongly that you spew obscenities and call people names and pull science rhetoric out of your rectum to make people think your are smart. And that you agree with these so called scientists and feel that you are superior to everyone that might have a different belief. I think you probably are of low intellect and feel you need to cut people down that do not believe the way you do. It is really sad that we have people that will not allow a discussion to take place without name calling and cursing.
        Oh, and BTW I am a scientist and I’m just YANKIN YOUR CHAIN!
        G'day Mate!

        November 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  12. josh

    Science proves the existence of God. What do you know about science? What other people say, right. Human intelligence is your god. God seeks relationship, don't take my word for it. Seek Him and you will find Him. There is no better feeling than knowing God loves you and that He will give you eternal life if you beleive. Sound foolish? Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 again and find a good church.

    November 2, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • yoyo

      Thank you Josh for sharing the truth. While I am always amazed at how the universe and everything in it work, I am more amazed at the creator of all this. God indeed exist and He works in marvelous ways.

      November 2, 2012 at 11:40 am |
      • ibanezerscrooge

        Science does no such thing. Science does not seek to prove anything. The methods of science only discover and reveal and do so irrespective of belief and bias. I challenge anyone on this comment thread that believes that such things to give me a single example in history where some fact of the known universe that was thought and accepted by the scientific community to have a naturalistic explanation, after careful meditation and study of holy texts, was found to actually be of supernatural origins.

        After you fail to do that, think of how many facts of the known universe that were once thought to be of supernatural origins have been shown to have a completely naturalistic explanation.

        Religion and science are not compatible. You might be religious and accept some scientific truths, but no religion can reconcile itself completely with science because of the supernatural core of the beliefs. That's just the way it is and no amount of mental shoe-horning will ever make it fit.

        November 2, 2012 at 11:54 am |
      • dconklin58

        >"Religion and science are not compatible. You might be religious and accept some scientific truths, but no religion can reconcile itself completely with science because of the supernatural core of the beliefs. That's just the way it is and no amount of mental shoe-horning will ever make it fit."

        The early modern scienteists, Galileo and Newton for instance, looked at science as a way to understand the workings of God. Science, as it now practiced is incompatible with the Bible because of its anti-supernatual assumption. Now, if you drop the assumption, then there is no incompatibility.

        November 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
      • EAB

        Enough with the God talk already...

        November 2, 2012 at 11:55 am |
      • Primewonk

        " Science, as it now practiced is incompatible with the Bible because of its anti-supernatual assumption. Now, if you drop the assumption, then there is no incompatibility."

        Exactly. Because that is the job of science. Science only deals with the natural realm. You want to change the very definition of science. You can't do that. You don't have standing. This was what Behe advocated in Kitzmiller. And it's what got him beat down. Because he had to admit that if we did change the definition of science, then things like astrology, numerology, and witchcraft would have to considered science.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • dconklin58

        >"if we did change the definition of science, then things like astrology, numerology, and witchcraft would have to considered science."

        Baloney. A wise man eliminates assumptions.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • Primewonk

        BULLSHIT. You do not have standing to change the definition of science, because you are not a scientist. And if you doubt what I wrote about Behe, you can read his testimony on line.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • sixsixsheep

      Science does nothing to prove the existence of god. The way science works is that it assumes that everything occurs naturally. Your statement comes off as extremely ignorant. And you have no proof for anything that you said. You can't use the bible to prove that bible, that's a logical fallacy.

      November 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
      • dconklin58

        >"The way science works is that it assumes that everything occurs naturally."

        BINGO! Those of us who have been around for more than just a little while have learned not make such simplistic assumptions.

        November 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
      • Primewonk

        Except, of course, that there is zero actual evidence of anything ever happening supernaturally.

        November 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
      • josh

        I am not using circlular reasoning. I am a witness that I know in my spirit that Jesus is who the Bible says He is. That is not fallicous. My point is that God did not choose to use human wisdom for people to find Him - although everything does point to Him. Here is an interesting tid bit for you and how God uses the intelligence of the intelligent to make them look foolish. Revelation says that water, as we know it, will be gone in the new heaven and earth. And here humans are thinking that we need to find water to find life, life that won't even bring eternal life. Jesus is the living water. And through Him you will find life. And not some funny space alien, but eternal life. With no sickness or death. And a nice new spiritual body. Go to church and let God tear down these strongholds.

        November 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • ConfucianScholar

      Josh, you are a dimwit and therefore don't belong on this board. Please live and go back to the sports page where you belong spewing mythology for other simpleminded people like you to believe.

      November 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • dconklin58

        >"you are a dimwit and therefore don't belong on this board. Please live and go back to the sports page where you belong spewing mythology for other simpleminded people like you to believe."

        Otherise known as how to prove that you are what you judge.

        November 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
      • josh

        Your personal attacks prove nothing. We are talking facts, right? Here is a fact. You put faith in our Universe having been around for billions of years and even attack others as stupid if they don't agree with you because "science", "scientists", "intelligence", says so – but you haven't been around long enough to be a witness to that and have no proof. And what do you get for your faith? Eternal life? What I have faith in, which is attainable to EVERYONE and is a gift leads to eternal life. I am a witness of what I have experienced and that is Jesus is who the Bible says He is. It must be frustrating to not know what you are going to believe in months from now with the every changing "truth" of science. You are chasing the wind my friend. God made you too.. and the universe we live in. You know little about the creation and I know a lot about the Creator. Let me ask you this, wouldn't you rather know the one that created this wonderful universe of ours more than knowing what He created? Isn't the Creator greater than what He made? May the Lord open the eyes of your heart.

        November 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " Science proves the existence of God. "

      Point 1 – Science doesce doesn't prove thing, it explains things.

      Point 2 – Science only deals with the natural realm. Your version of a god, like any god worth his or her salt, claims supernatural powers and abilities. This makes the god unfalsifiable. And if it isn't falsifiable, science could care less about it.

      November 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Or maybe man should just humble himself altogether? Admit that 'us' knowing what the 'creator of reality' wants from us, is pretty darn outlandish. Humans cant even fathom that power, let alone speak to the being in control of everything. We fight over our imagination of what 'it' wants. And can't confirm what 'it' is. We've never grown up. We're still children with competing imaginations. And it still basically boils down to 'who's got enough power to enforce their imagination?' .......Or maybe I'm just standing too close to these illegally dumped chemicals in this abandoned lot...

      November 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      The only problem is you do not know anything you speak of. You speculate based on an ancient book written by men, then edited by more men to gain power, money and to convert pagans to christianity. The words of the bible are the words of mere mortals, not god.

      November 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • dconklin58

        >The words of the bible are the words of mere mortals, not god.

        You can't prove that and many, not all Christians do not believe in verbal inspiration.

        >an ancient book written by men, then edited by more men to gain power, money and to convert pagans to christianity.

        Except that most of it was written long BEFORE Christianity even came into existence. Secondly, even portions of the NT were not written for the purpose of converting pagans to Christianity.

        >The only problem is you do not know anything you speak of.

        Truer words were never spoken.

        November 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  13. Alex

    I would like to point out that their findings are based on expected vs. received results. This is the premise that arguments between Creationists and Evolutionists are caused by. It is a matter of interpreting results to suit your world view.

    November 2, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • dconklin58

      >"It is a matter of interpreting results to suit your world view."

      I use the analogy of Custer's Last Stand. Prior to the battle they came across Indian campsites. The way things normally worked is that the Idnians would set up camp, let their horses out to graze and when they had eaten all the fresh grass, the Indians would pick up and move. So, when Cuter came across all these camp sites his scouts and he assumed this was sequential, one after another. But other Indian scouts looked at the same evidence and said no, all these camp sites were all here at the same time. Unfortunately for Custer, they then let it slip, "But we've never seen this many Indians (far more than the 350 that they thought they were after) in one place like this." So, Custer and his others scouts said/thought: "Well, then, OBVIOUSLY, you are wrong." And we all know how well that turned out.

      November 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  14. jimdog33

    How old is the super-galactic black hole known as Detroit?

    November 2, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  15. Nick Fraher

    CNN This article is completely factually incorrect. This extragalactic light is from when the universe was 4 MILLION years old. Not 4 billion. Can somebody please fact check this stuff, or at least fix it. Thanks

    November 2, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • khan in chandler

      Thanks for correcting that. I was wondering about that as the scientist were already inside the billionth mark.

      November 2, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  16. Confu2012

    Scientists say there must have been a big bang based on the fact that all the galaxies are moving outward radially from a common center point. Assuming that is true and that there was a big bang 13 billion years ago, I fail to understand why light from before the big bang has still not reached us – have we and the galaxies moving outward faster than light?

    November 2, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Jeremiah Obrien

      Yes! And also, no. During the early days (millenia) of the universe, the universe expanded faster than the speed of light. Now, before anyone starts pointing towards relativity and all that, it is important to understand that relativity dictates that nothing can travel THROUGH space faster than light (in a vacuum), but it does not dicate how space itself can move, specifically in this case expand. It's like an ant walking the length of a rubber band as you stretch it. The ant moves at the same rate, but more distance is created as you expand the piece of elastic material.

      As long as the space between the early light sources and where Earth would eventually form has expanded fast and sufficiently enough, the light would need time to make up this new expanded distance once the expansion later slowed. Which it has, though it is said to be speeding up agian, but that's another story.

      November 2, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • Oscar Pitchfork

        It wasn't even that the Universe expanded faster than the speed of light. Most people have a hard time comprehending the face that before the Universe expanded, there wasn't even any space to expand into yet. Just as gravity doesn't bend light, but bends the space that light travels in, the Universe exploded all at once, maybe instantaneously (for all we know, really), before it ended up whrer things are now.

        November 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Robert

      Because prior to the big bang, there was nothing – no light prior to the big bang, so there's no light to receive. Your question presumes there was light before the bang.

      November 2, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • I'm The Best

      Space can expand faster than light, but just space, everything else takes a bit of time to... fill the void.

      But, to explain how the scientists are looking at this stuff, and it isn't because of the universe expanding faster than light. Every direction we look we're looking into the past, for example, if we see something that is 4 lightyears away, then we are seeing that object as it was 4 years ago. So an object at 4 billion light years away, we're seeing it as it was 4 billion years ago. These scientists have found a way to measure only the light coming from objects that are over ~10 billion lightyears away so 10 billion years ago, or 4 billion years old after the big bang. Getting that total light, they can see how bright the universe was at 4 billion years old.

      And everything isn't moving out radially from a center point where the big bang happened, which is why every direction looks the same, there isn't one direction we can look that would be the center of the universe. There is no point where the big bang happened for everything to move out away from.

      So we're always looking into the past no matter which direction we look, we're always looking toward the beginning of the universe, torwards the big bang. Isn't that neat?
      Hope that helped clear some things up.

      November 2, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • paul321

      no – space is not expanding out from a central point – its expanding everywhere. for a 2 dimensional analogy, put dots on a balloon and then inflate it – on the surface, every dot will move away from every other dot there is no point of origin – the expanding universe is like this except in 3 dimensions.

      Imagine 12" cube made up of 1"cubes. ALL the cubes increase in size to 1.1" – every cube moves away from every other with cubes further away moving further – this is the expanding universe. In this situation there is no central point that the bigger cube is moving away from , instead every point is moving away from every other.

      November 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Jason

      There was not any light prior to the Big Bang, nor in a time afterwards, as nothing was formed that could generate light.

      November 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  17. Jeremiah Obrien

    Tide goes in, tide goes out. You can't explain that.

    November 2, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • snowboarder

      jer – who can't explain that? everyone know what makes the tides.

      November 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
      • drowlord

        Bill O'Reilly, that's who. It's a much-ridiculed quote from his show, where he was arguing that the world is full of mysteries that science can't explain. In fact, it's so broadly ridiculed that there was a popular picture meme of his picture with a bunch of easily explained stuff at the top with "you can't explain that" at the bottom.

        November 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Doo

      Yeah I can, God did it. Unless your a heathen then science can also explain it rather quickly

      November 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  18. zombiemaster

    Religion is based on opinion and faith... not political problems or the economy, A religious view is not much different than a political view, because you are bias over a certain view of yours, I am a christian and a democrat, I believe God helps everybody, so He is definitely not a Republican, God is for everyone, not just the upper class... sorry if anyone is offended by this, but seriously, don't preach about Romney under an article about the UNIVERSE!!

    November 2, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • CLOS

      you don't have to be a Dem to believe you have to help everyone. That doesn't mean all Reps are bad. I could easily say all Dems are hippies who want everyone else to take care of them. Being a fiscal conservative is not about slashing programs that help the poor, or improve health care, or ensure a social safety net. It's about insisting services are provided efficiently, get to only the people that need them, and achieve the desired results. Fiscal conservatives have hearts too — but we also insist on using our brains, and that means demanding results and holding government accountable for producing them.
      To me, fiscal conservatism means balancing budgets — not running deficits that the next generation can't afford. It means improving the efficiency of delivering services by finding innovative ways to do more with less. It means cutting taxes when possible and prudent to do so, raising them overall only when necessary to balance the budget, and only in combination with spending cuts. It means when you run a surplus, you save it; you don't squander it. And most importantly, being a fiscal conservative means preparing for the inevitable economic downturns — and by all indications, we've got one coming.

      November 2, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  19. Sane Person

    What do scientists know? Why should I believe a collaboration of the most brilliant minds ever, with their "facts",, when I can just listen to religious laymen and their 3000 year old point of view ? They obviously know better.

    November 2, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Zaximus

      Ummm...just because. How can you deny this logic?

      November 2, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • josh

      "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" 1 cor 1:19,20

      1 JOhn 1:5 "God is light"

      November 2, 2012 at 11:06 am |
      • ironman59

        Of course a book of fairytales used by those in power would condemn science and research. Facts and information are the enemy of religion. With enlightenment people realize that those fairytales never happened and the elite lose their control of the masses. Religion has always condemned scientific advancement because it will, in time put religion out of business.

        November 2, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • dconklin58

        >"Religion has always condemned scientific advancement because it will, in time put religion out of business."

        Try studying some history. For example, Galileo was punished by the church because other scientists of the day were jealous of the funding he was getting from the CHURCH. This was reported in Scientific American.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
      • josh

        18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:

        “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;

        the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”c

        20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

        26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”d

        1 cor 1:18-31

        November 2, 2012 at 11:33 am |
      • snowboarder

        josh – the bible is a collection of occasionally noble myths.

        November 2, 2012 at 11:33 am |
      • dconklin58

        >"the bible is a collection of occasionally noble myths."

        You can't prove that. C. S. Lewis studied myths for a living; see what he says on the subject.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • paul321

        josh – how do you know the bible really is the word of god and not just the word of a bunch of frustrated old men with long beards?

        November 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • josh

        @Paul Because I have the Spirit of God living in my. The Bible says that you can not understand the mind of God until you have the Spirit of God living in you. The Bible also says that faith comes by hearing the word of God. I know because God has given me faith. He has faith for everyone that searches for Him with a true heart. Where do you hear the Word of God? Church. You can also read the Bible as well.

        LIke Saul before he was Paul and wrote over 1/4 of the New Testament. The scales have been lifted. I was blind but now I see. Seek Him and He will give you His peace. Do it with a genuine heart. The choice is yours. That is the awesome thing about God. You don't need me or anyone to find Him. If you really start asking Him to reveal himself and make every effor to find Him He will reveal Himself to you. Jesus dies and was raised from the gave by the Father. He is the son of God. That is true wisdom.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
      • yoyo

        Unless the Spirit of God reveled to you, as a human you can never understand what the bible says. If you have the will to know about the true God, ask Him his guidance to give you the understanding of His word. The bible says those who worship Him (The true God), worship him in truth and in Spirit (Spirit of God). Take time and ask God to tell you if the bible is indeed the true word of God.

        November 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      Of course they should, the facts support the Bible. Not hard to see that. Obviously the Bible doesn't tell us everything about our history. There are very few Christians that don't believe in science.

      November 2, 2012 at 11:30 am |
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