LETTER:British astronomers at the final frontier

Click to follow
From Mr Lyndon Pegington

Sir: Whenever I read reports similar to the one that appeared on the front page of the Independent of 17 January ("Gazing into the beginning of time"), I am puzzled by an apparent paradox.

If the Big Bang theory is correct and the universe came into being approximately 15 billion years ago, expanding outwards from a single point, then looking back in time we ought to be seeing a very limited volume of matter and space and eventually the single point itself the nearer we get to the 15 billion year "limit". Instead of that, the picture we are presented with at an enormous distance in time and space is a huge volume of galaxies millions of light years across.

Can anyone explain the paradox, and how far do we have to look back before we see the start of the Big Bang itself?

Yours faithfully,

Lyndon Pegington

Baildon, West Yorkshire

17 January