Monday, November 13, 2006


We transition in 19 seconds from an optical picture of Sombrero Galaxy, Messier 104, taken by Hubble to an infrared view from Spitzer. The Sombrero is 28 million light-years away, at the edge of our Virgo cluster. Our Milky Way is part of the Local Group 60 million light-years from the cluster centre. The Virgo Cluster, containing thousands of galaxies, itself is shaped like a disk.

Spitzer's infrared view reveals a ring of dust encircling the galaxy, and a hidden disk of stars within this ring. Even in infrared, the Sombrero's centre is bright with radiation. Note how the radiation is concntrated in a small region. A massive Black Hole is believed to lie here, but that is of course invisible. Every single galaxy surveyed contains a singularity, suggesting that Black Holes were there before the galaxies. The only way that such objects could form is if the speed of light were much higher in the past.

Photo below is Uxmal in Yucatan, Mexico.


Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Love the animation.
Louise that speed of light might have been faster at some earlier cosmological time, is not itself indicative that it is slowing at any perceptible rate in human terms or earth years.
Not wanting to be contrary, just trying to put your 'formula' in perspective or into context, in Time (spacetime)

As I said before that light appears to take longer to reach us from some distant point, can just be indicative that the point emitting light is further (receding) - not that the speed of light itself is slower

12:02 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

HI Q9, always nice to hear from you. I may do an upcoming post on blended-wing aircraft, because some interesting research has been done in the US too.

It sounds like you've heard of Joao Maguiejo's theory, which says that c was faster near the Big Bang (as an alternative to inflation) and is now stable.

I wasn't counting how long it takes light to reach us (there is no good way to measure that) just redshifts and indicators like Black Hole size. The field is wide open for new theories, making this an exciting time.

12:28 PM  

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