We Were Just Thrust Into a New Age in Astronomy 我們剛剛來到天文學的新時代

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We Were Just Thrust Into a New Age in Astronomy



   •     It was originally understood that our universe harbored two hundred billion galaxies – but this estimate was wrong – it contains two trillion.

   •     In 2018, NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space telescope, a much more powerful successor to the Hubble, which could tell us even more about the distant reaches of our universe.




本來的認知認為我們的宇宙有2000 億個星系,但是這個估計是錯誤的,其實有兩兆個。


在2018 年,NASA 計劃發射詹姆斯.韋伯太空望遠鏡(James Webb Space telescope),它比哈伯太空望遠鏡(Hubble Space Telescope)更強,可以告訴我們更多關於這個宇宙的事情。


This past fall, a paper was publishedby a team from the University of Nottingham that claimed our universe harbors two trillion galaxies – ten times more than the previously calculated two hundred billion. But what’s the big deal? And how did we get the number so wrong to begin with?

The findings are pretty significant, although not for the reasons that many people think…


在上個秋季,諾丁漢大學的團隊發表了一份研究報告,內容表示我們的宇宙有兩兆個星系,比原先2000 億個的說法多了十倍。但是這件事的重要性是什麼呢?之前我們得到數字怎麼會錯這麼多呢?這是一個重大的發現,但他重要的原因和許多人想的不一樣…



First off, many publications misinterpreted the findings, which is pretty easy to do if you’re not well-versed in cosmology. One article from the Independentwent as far as to claim the findings meant the universe was much larger than previously thought. When cosmologists and astrophysicists talk about the universe, what they really mean is the bit of the universe that we can see right now. Only so much light has been able to reach us since the big bang. We call the edge of this light the cosmic horizon. Beyond that? We don’t really know what’s beyond that, but we’re pretty sure that the universe extends far beyond that. But the observable bit of the universe? That’s not going to get bigger anytime soon. In fact, most models predict that the observable universe is going to get smaller as time goes on, as the expansion velocity of galaxies accelerates beyond the speed of light.


許多出版品曲解了這個發現,不熟悉宇宙學的人很容易犯這些錯誤。一篇刊登在Independent 上的文章內容和事實有一段距離,它說這個發現表示宇宙比我們想像中的大。當宇宙學家和天體物理學家談到宇宙,他們指的其實是我們目前可以看到的一小部分宇宙。在大爆炸後許多的光可以到達我們這裡,我們稱這些光的邊緣為宇宙視界(cosmic horizon)。超出宇宙視界的部分呢?我們其實並不知道那裡有什麼,但是我們很確定宇宙要比界內寬廣得多。但是可觀察到的部分宇宙並不會變大,事實上,許多模型預測可觀察到的部分宇宙會隨著時間變小,因為宇宙星系的膨脹速度越來越快,比光速還快。


And those extra galaxies that we had not counted? They aren’t what we might think of as galaxies in the more modern universe. When I think of a galaxy, I think of the whirlpools of solar systems and interstellar gas, such as our own Milky Way galaxy, or the neighboring Andromeda. But galaxies can be incredibly small. Take, for example, the small satellites to our galaxy. Some of these galaxies can have only tens of millions of stars, and look more like a clump than a spiral with arms. Near the beginning of time, many smaller galaxies existed that hadn’t yet collided to form the massive clouds of star we see today. There isn’t anymore stuff in the universe, it’s just distributed differently than we thought.




So why was the answer so wrong? Well, the best way that we can see galaxies at the beginning of the universe is with the Hubble telescope. Getting some of our deepest views into the universe can take exposure times of days. It’s really hard to get pictures of early galaxies. So right now, the technology just isn’t there. But in 2018, NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space telescope, a much more powerful successor to the Hubble. This telescope will allow us to probe the early universe, view some of the dimmest galaxies, and even take a peek at a few exoplanets. There’s a lot of stuff out there to study, and as telescope technology advances, we’ll get to see more and more of the universe that we live in.

Hear more below.


所以,為什麼前面提到的文章答案錯得離譜呢?這個嘛,我們觀察宇宙最初的星系的最好辦法,是使用哈伯太空望遠鏡。要最深入地觀察宇宙需要數天的曝光,要得到最早期星系的影像真的很困難,目前的科技還無法辦到。但是在2018 年,NASA 將計劃發射韋伯太空望遠鏡( James Webb Space telescope),一個比哈伯太空望遠鏡強得多的繼任者。這個望遠鏡讓我們可以調查早期的宇宙,觀察一些黑暗的星系,甚至可以一瞥些許系外行星。有許多的事物可以探索,隨著望遠鏡的科技進步,我們可以看到更多關於這個宇宙的事物







Uncertainty Principle is a podcast by Daniel James Barker, and you can find it online at UncertaintyPrinciplethePodcast.com


Uncertainty PrincipleDaniel James Barker發布,你可以在UncertaintyPrinciplethePodcast.com找到。