Glenn’s post mentions gravitational lensing. I (layman that I am) heard about gravitational lensing (in a different context) for the first time while reading this weeks issue of Time Magazine. They are peering back into the mists of time with powerful telescopes in search of what happened during the “Dark Ages.”
Known as the Dark Ages of the universe, it’s the 200-million year period (more or less) after the last flash of light from the Big Bang faded and the first blush of sun-like stars began to appear.
Fascinating stuff. They are waiting for the next generation of telescopes to come on line to really see what happened back in time. In the meantime, I enjoyed this quote:
Indeed, observations often take theorists by surprise. Last fall ...the European Space Organization’s ground-based Very Large Telescope in Chile revealed the existence of a galaxy dating to about 1 billion years after the Big Bang that was far larger and more mature looking than the primordial dwarf galaxies everyone assumed they would see. “It was unexpected,” admits Mark Dickinson of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, in Tuscon, Ariz., who worked on the project. “But maybe it shouldn’t have been.” The theorists might have things all wrong. But it could also simply be that any population will have a few individuals that are way outside the average - humans who stand over 7 ft. tall for example.