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To infinity, and beyond | GulfNews.com January 14, 2014

Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
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In the 17th century Johannes Kepler, Christiaan Huygens and others began to wonder if improvements to the recently invented telescope would one day enable humans to actually examine some of those other worlds. “There maybe yet created several other helps for the eye,” wrote Robert Hooke in 1665, “such as by which we may perhaps be able to discover living Creatures in the Moon, or other Planets.”

Three hundred and fifty years later our view has expanded in ways Hooke and his contemporaries could not have imagined. We can watch stars forming in nebulae of dust and gas. We can see, via a deep field photograph taken by the Hubble space telescope, 10,000 galaxies, each containing billions of stars, in a patch of sky the diameter of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. We have glimpsed a galaxy 13.3 billion light years away, as it existed less than 500 million years after the big bang.

We can detect, though not directly see, the spin of a black hole and the relativistic effects that warp space-time near its event horizon. Every decade, sometimes every year, brings more astounding discoveries. And theorists say we have hardly begun. Perhaps more than 95 per cent of energy and matter is entirely hidden from us. Perhaps ours is one of many universes, each of them like a soap bubble in a much larger multiverse.

via To infinity, and beyond | GulfNews.com.

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