Jenkins-Of-Ewelme Web Site

Astronomical Time Frame

This page is attempting to convey the virtual time machine of astronomy. The universe is so vast and still expanding from the Big Bang some 14 billion years ago, that what we see of objects at such great distances are actually images from a past time. This is because light, as photon particles or waves, can only travel at no greater than a finite speed, and therefore take a immense period of time to reach an observer. It can sometimes be difficult to relate to this concept of looking back in time. Even the light from the Sun takes eight minutes to reach us, and we regard this as our very own local heat source. So the further away an astronomical object is, it is the determination of how many years it has taken for light from an object to reach us, is the means to measure distance in astronomical terms.

Below are some illustrations taken from a BBC site, to give an idea of the normally unimaginable light/distance timescales many of the astronomical images taken from Ewelme Observatory are exhibiting, and relating these to the the timescales of the history of the Earth (and of infant mankind). Think on !!