Limits of Space May Be Solved by Two-Hundred Inch Eye (Dec, 1936)

Currently the most distant galaxy we’ve imaged is 13.4 billion light years away. Well, that’s not quite accurate. It’s actually about 33 billion light years away due to the expansion of the universe. The light has been travelling for 13.4 billion years. I wonder what they were expecting to see if they discovered the “limit” to space?

Limits of Space May Be Solved by Two-Hundred Inch Eye
Whether the universe is finite or endless may be solved when the 200-inch telescope of the California Institute of Technology is trained on the heavens. Sir James Jeans, British scientist, points out that the theory of relativity holds that space curves into itself so that its volume is finite, while another theory says space is infinite. Some of the most powerful telescopes today penetrate 240,000,000 light-years in every direction without revealing any limit to space.

  1. Toronto says: September 16, 20135:52 pm

    Still in use, isn’t it? The Hale scope at Mt. Palomar.

  2. Stephen says: September 17, 20137:02 am

    This must be the Hale telescope, yes. As for discovering the limit to space, it would consist of discovering a galaxy (or other structure) that we could see, say, from “below” in the Northern sky and from “above” in the Southern sky, showing that we could see all the way round a curved Universe. Jeffrey R Weeks’ literally mind-expanding book “The Shape of Space” discusses this question of “cosmic topology” in the later chapters. My own guess is that the Universe is finite but so large that we can’t see round the curve, because light hasn’t had time to cross it since the Big Bang.

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