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Author Topic: Hmmm? in Space, Right Next Door  (Read 6149 times)
WarHorse
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« Reply #15: November 16, 2010, 03:04:12 pm »

What our telescopes are seeing is the object when it WAS 30 yrs old.  Yes, it's a lot older now in reality, but in our perception .. well, for research purposes perception really IS what matters.

Perception being the operative word.

An excellent question, Mithril, answered excellently, Shad.  Sometimes what we perceive lacks accurate context, and therefore definition.  It's like trying to read another person's mind; you never really get all of it.

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« Reply #16: November 16, 2010, 05:05:34 pm »

THIRTY YEAR OLD BLACK HOLE??? but wait... It's 50 million light years away, so it's *not* really 30 years old. What do they mean when they give the age of an object? The time since it was first observed?

It's 30 years old from our POV. Light from the explosion that formed it first reached the Earth 30 years ago. From our frame of reference, it's 30 years old. From its frame of reference its 50 million or so years old. Both ages are correct, but from a practical POV, it's 30 years old because that's what we are seeing now -- radio energy, X-rays, etc from when it was 30 years old.
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« Reply #17: November 16, 2010, 05:59:34 pm »

It's 30 years old from our POV. Light from the explosion that formed it first reached the Earth 30 years ago. From our frame of reference, it's 30 years old. From its frame of reference its 50 million or so years old. Both ages are correct, but from a practical POV, it's 30 years old because that's what we are seeing now -- radio energy, X-rays, etc from when it was 30 years old.

I always geek out on the "time bending" aspect of astronomy.  Squee!
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