The Point Which We Cannot See Beyond… Ever…

Image result for cosmic background radiation
“Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation”
(c) Mdf, CC BY-SA 3.0

Human technology has evolved at a breathtaking rate. The Earth is over 4.5 billion years, and yet, in a mere 10,000 years, we humans have developed technology beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors and even as close as our great-grandparents. We have made leaps and bounds in every field, but the one field that we have especially seen profound development over the years is astronomy and the study of space. Since the earliest human, whether they be living in caves or wandering the plains, we all have looked up to the sky and wondered what those shimmering points of light in the distance are. We have always looked with reverence to the sky, even developing religions revolving around the cosmos. Today, we know that those shimmering lights are actually great big balls of gas called stars.

However, there comes a point which no one can look past. Our telescopes are able to see light from the farthest edges of the universe, more than 13 billion light years away from us. This means that the light took more than 13 billion years in order to reach us, which means that we’re viewing the galaxy as it was 13 billion years ago. The age of the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and with this logic, one might think that it would be possible to view the beginning of the universe. However, in the earliest stages in the universe, the universe was much too hot and chaotic for light to move around, even when photons were created. It wouldn’t be until around 380,000 years later when the universe finally cools down enough for light to be able to move around; and for us to detect it. This light then took more than 13 billion years to reach our telescopes today, and it is called the cosmic microwave background radiation. This is the closest we can get to whatever happened at the beginning of the universe, and unfortunately, we can’t get through this impenetrable wall. There’s simply nothing to see if light wasn’t even around! Hopefully in the future, we can devise another method of seeing even farther back in time.

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