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Isn't it an unlikely coincidence that we live in such special times, that we will have observatories (JWST) that see all the way back to the first starlight in the universe? Are we dreaming, and is it possible that we will be surprised and keep finding evolved galaxies more than 13.8 billion years old?

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  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't people in Galileo's time have said the same thing...? What more is there to be discovered? $\endgroup$ – Rob Jeffries Apr 20 '15 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ @RobJeffries There's only one Big Bang, and we're about to see its first light. It was surely nice to see the first jovian moon, but seeing the first star can never be outdone. Not according to our worldsview today, which maybe is what has to give here. $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Apr 20 '15 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ I we had not yet reached this time, you wouldn't ask the question. If we had reached this time long ago, you would ask "Isn't it amazing that we live exactly in the time where interstellar travel has just recently become possible?". I think Rob's point is that new discoveries are being made all the time, and they're all amazing in their own way. Thus, at any given point in time, there will be things to say "Isn't it unlikely that we live now?" to. I don't think we're dreaming. $\endgroup$ – pela May 7 '15 at 20:40
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We will not find Galaxies that have existed before the big bang. There's a principle in Astronomy that states: The further you look, the earlier you look. That means that the more distance the light had to travel to reach our telescopes, the more time it needed to reach us, because the speed of light is not infinite. Therefore seeing the first galaxies of the universe isn't some lucky coincidence, we are just looking the right distance away (13 billion light years). If we had lived earlier we could still see these galaxies, but they would be closer to us. And the same goes vice versa; If we had lived at an earlier time, we would still see said galaxies, but much farther away. I hope this helps.

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  • $\begingroup$ I hope so too. But such simple intuitive logic doesn't always apply in this context. Maybe beyond the Big Bang we'll see younger galaxies instead of older, and 30 years from now people in the business will say: "Of course it's like this! Are you stupid or something?" $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff May 21 '15 at 0:06

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