Looking up in to the night sky it’s not difficult to see why the ancient Greeks believed that all the stars in the night sky were fixed on a celestial sphere revolving around the Earth and other planets. From our view on Earth the stars appear to be at a fixed distance in the sky rotating with the seasons and never changing their positions relative to each other, rising in the east and setting in the west.  However, we know now that the Earth is not the centre of the cosmos but a tiny world in an expanding Universe. So from Earth how far can we see and which star is the farthest?

This is a question which does not have one simple definitive answer. We know that the Sun is the closest star to us at 150 million km (93 million miles) away. However, when it comes to the farthest star there are a few more variables that can be considered.

Stars on fixed celestial sphere surrounding the Sun and planets.  Credit: Wikimedia.

Stars on fixed celestial sphere surrounding the Sun and planets. (Image credit: Wikimedia.org)

 

Farthest star visible with the unaided eye

Under today’s light polluted skies the most distant star that can be seen without any great difficultly is the star Deneb. Located in the constellation of Cygnus the swan and one point of the summer triangle asterism, this star is located around 1550 light years away from Earth. However, different estimates from this distance can range between 1400- 3000 light years. Despite difficulties in pin-pointing a specific distance for this star, it is the most distant star we can see. It is also in the top twenty brightest stars visible meaning it should be relatively easy to spot in the night sky throughout the summer months from here in Northern Ireland.

Deneb one point of the Summer Triangle in the constellation of Cygnus. Credit: Stellarium/MRedpath.

Deneb one point of the Summer Triangle in the constellation of Cygnus. (Image credit: Stellarium/MRedpath.)

 

It is thought that under ideal dark skies conditions that the human eye can see objects up an apparent magnitude of +6 (the lower the number the brighter the object, the Sun is -26, a full moon is -12, Deneb  is + 1.25). There are some stars on the cusp of this visible unaided boundary which are estimated to be even further away. The Garnet Star (μ Cephei) discovered by Herschel has a magnitude of +4 and is estimated to be between 4300-9300 light years away. This star is difficult to see even under perfect conditions.

Many sources say that further still than μ Cephei is the variable star V762 Cas in the constellation of Cassiopeia which has a magnitude of 5.8 (making it just visible to the unaided eye in perfect viewing conditions) and is often said to to be 16 000 light years away. However this distance is apparently based on out of date data; the 2007 Hipparcos Catalogue says it has a parallax of 1.18 milli-seconds of arc (with an uncertainty of 0.45 milli-seconds). This is equivalent to a distance of 2760 light years (but based on the large uncertainty, it could be as close as 2000 light years or as 4465 light years). ESA’s Gaea mission will probably eventually provide an accurate value for the distance to V762 Cas, but as off now it is probably not the most distant visible star (thanks to Rob Jefferies for pointing this out).

Large and Small magellanic clouds, dwarf satellite galaxies located above the ALMA telescope. These are visible with the naked eye from the southern hemisphere. Credit: ESO/C. Malin.

Large and Small Magellanic clouds, dwarf satellite galaxies located above the ALMA telescope. These are visible with the naked eye from the southern hemisphere. (Image credit: ESO/C. Malin.)

 

Farthest stellar object visible with the unaided eye

Galaxies are huge cities full of stars and the most distant of these which is still visible with the naked eye here in the northern hemisphere is the Andromeda galaxy. This is the largest galaxy in our local group of galaxies, which includes our Milky Way galaxy and more than 30 smaller ones. The Andromeda galaxy is a massive 2.5 million light years away from us and has a magnitude of +3.4, so can be seen without the need for an optical device if you have good, clear skies. This galaxy isn’t visible from everywhere in the southern hemisphere but here you can see the Magellanic Clouds. These are satellite galaxies in orbit around the Milky Way. The Large Magellanic cloud is around 160 000 light years and has a magnitude of +0.9 so should be visible even in areas with some light pollution.

Andromeda Galaxy located 2.5 million light years away and can be seen with the naked eye. (Image credit: Wikimedia.org)

Andromeda Galaxy located 2.5 million light years away and can be seen with the naked eye. (Image credit: Wikimedia.org)

 

Farthest supernova viewed

Whenever a large star ends its life, it can result in a supernova explosion. The brightest most distant supernova ever viewed from the Earth without a telescope is Kepler’s supernova.  This explosion was discovered by Johannes Kepler in 1604 who originally thought it was a new star in the constellation of Ophiuchus. At its brightest it had a magnitude of -2.5 and was brighter than the planets in the night sky and then it dimmed over the following weeks.  It is thought that this explosion occurred around 20 000 light years away in our Milky Way galaxy.

Image: X-ray image of Remnants of the Kepler supernova, observed with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/M.Burkey et al; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

X-ray image of Remnants of the Kepler supernova, observed with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.  (Image Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/M.Burkey et al; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

 

With the help of optical devices and telescopes based in space  like Hubble, we can locate objects which are even further afield and not visible with the naked eye. In April 2013, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, located one of the most distant supernovas ever discovered. It has been named SN Wilson (after President Woodrow Wilson). The supernova occurred 10 billion light years away, at the time when the Universe was still young.

Seeing even further

There are stars located even further away than the unaided eye can see. Thanks to the Hubble telescope we can not only see distant supernovas but even more distant galaxies. A galaxy is a system of stars, gas and dust held together by gravity. Over the past 10 years Hubble has been looking deep into space into the constellation of Fornax in the Southern hemisphere and has discovered thousands of galaxies.  The latest image assembled by images captured by Hubble is the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF). This has allowed astronomers to discover the most distant object UDFj-39546284, an early forming galaxy at over 13.2 billion light years away when the Universe was still developing into the form we see today.  Other space-based telescopes planned in the next few years like the James Webb Space telescope will be able to use infrared imaging to see beyond the spectrum of visible light from the Universe to hopefully discover even more distant objects.

Image: Hubble’s eXtreme deep field image. Credit: (Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team).

Image Hubble’s eXtreme deep field image. Credit: (Image Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team).

 

There are many distant stars many millions of light years from the Earth located in distant galaxies. However at this great distance from Earth it is difficult to measure precise distances and which single star is the farthest from us. Many of these very distant objects are invisible to the human eye and are only detectable with the use of optical aids. However, the unaided eye can still detect some amazing objects which not only allow us to see thousands of light years away but let us catch a glimpse to the beginnings of the Universe.

(Article by Martina Redpath, Education Support Officer)


68 Comments

michael · July 28, 2018 at 17:23

when was last supernova in our age &how far it was from our solar system

raro · December 2, 2017 at 12:31

Hi how is it we can get a clear line of sight on distant stars with all the billions billions of stars and planets wouldn’t the vast majority be getting in the way

    admin · December 4, 2017 at 15:42

    Hi Raro, thanks for the comment. You have to keep it in mind that our galaxy, and our universe is HUGE! It may seem that all that stuff should get in our line of sight when looking at the distant stars, but there is so much room that is doesn’t. If you think about the star that is our closest neighbour, Alpha Centauri at 4.4 light years away, there is so much surrounding our own solar system to get through before you even get to it! Here is a great visual representation: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/1400/interstellar-crossing-the-cosmic-void/

    But basically due to the vastness of space we can get pretty good, unobstructed views of distant stars. You do have other things to contend with such as space dust etc. but due to the size of our universe this is why everything is not crammed in together, causing huge obstructions.

stephany · November 13, 2017 at 00:32

what is the farthest star in the solar system that we can’t see with our eyes?????

    admin · November 15, 2017 at 11:38

    Hi Stephany thanks for the comment. In regards to your question, the only star in our solar system is the Sun. It is 93,000,000 miles away and naturally we can see it with the naked eye. Our closest neighbour star is Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, which form a binary pair and are located 4.3 light years away. The stars ULAS J0744+25 and ULAS J0015+01 are about 775,000 and 900,000 light-years from Earth, respectively, making them both about five times more distant than the Large Magellanic Cloud. These are the most distant stars we believe are in the Milky Way Galaxy. Also do read the bit of the article about the Hubble Ultra Deep field. It is a fascinating thing :D! I hope this helps!

ellis russell · May 11, 2017 at 21:30

Is it true that the light from some of the stars we see here on earth are from starts which have died millions of years ago?

    Thulani Dube · May 25, 2018 at 22:41

    its possible, remember when we see a star that’s a million light years away, we’re not seeing it in real time, we are seeing the star as it was million years ago. So its quite possible that by the time the light from that star gets to us it might have in the meantime died .

Nandkumar Rashinkar · January 26, 2017 at 18:33

The space is a really amazing thing. It has been the most interested topic to me since my child hood. I always wonder, when I think that, we all always talk about birth of our universe, but what about space itself ? When did the entire space born, where there could be hundreds or thousands of such universes ?And what is the end of the space itself. These are the questions I want to know the answers of which, in my life time.

zeeshan Ashraf · July 10, 2016 at 07:45

An excellent article. Since my childhood I was always extremely attracted towards celestial bodies. Looking at sky on a clear amazed me and it still takes my breath away , it is living merical . Science has answered many of my questions regarding our beautiful universe although we are not certain if that’s the truth. I am muslim and that too a practicing one, reading articles like these further strengthen my beliefs. We were told that there are 7 skies and distance between each sky is 500 years ,there is no mentioning of units but I believe it has to be light years and may be in future,science might even prove that there r 7 skies. Reaching to certain depth in universe might be categorized as area of first sky and further deep we go ,we might get more skies. Above 7 skies ,heavens or paradise starts and there are 100 types of paradises stacked on each other and distance between each neighboring paradise is 500, assuming it’s 500 light years that’s make the last paradise some 54000 light years away . For me things have started making sense now. Just wanted to share ,that’s all 🙂

Mug Snug · June 25, 2016 at 08:12

Yet, there are some people whom still do not believe of the existence of God ” Allah”. the creator .

Oh Allah guide us to the right path.

LZ · March 21, 2016 at 01:20

Jon you really got me on that question. Either ,Neither or both is all my feeble mind could come up with. And that’s not an answer. But thank you for getting my neurons firing almost to the point of meltdown. Keep it up , My brain needs the exercise.

Jon · March 17, 2016 at 20:08

Is the universe finite, or infinite?

If we say it is infinite, is it possible to create something infinite? Does creation require discreteness of the thing created?

If we say it is finite, what is on the other side of the limit? If we say space, what is space, is it something, is it part of the universe?

Gumby · January 14, 2016 at 07:06

Deneb is not the furthest star unless you are referring to the brightest stars only with apparent magnitude of 1 or less. There is so many stars out there that I am sure that many is much further than Deneb but are much fainter. I am trying to find out which star is the furthest with an apparent magnitude of 6 or even 8 , 10 . Deneb is a very remarkable star not only because of its gigantic size but also of its brightness as in absolute magntiude.. Absolute magnitude is used to measure the brightness of any star at 32 light years from you. Now Deneb has an apparent magnitude of 1.25 when viewed at 2600 light years.. if you travel closer to Deneb until you are only 32 light years from Deneb, it will be much brighter at minus 8 almost as bright as full moon. If Deneb is as close as Sirius , the brightest apparent star at 8 light year, then Deneb will definitely be as bright as our Full Moon . We will have a full moon effect from Deneb for most of the year which we would not wish to have..Deneb is a very bright white and really huge star!! We should be thankful that Deneb is so far away!!

susan · December 28, 2015 at 18:39

Who cares about all that god stuff in the way some people were mentioning it?

The stars the universe etc are a completely fascinating absolute dact by virtue that they are there, and its marvellous to know that we are (have been) part of a celestial family that is our universe.

Every thing else is pale in comparison.

(One word changed- please be polite- ADMIN)

caitlin · November 15, 2015 at 20:29

its realy long way a way from the eath its realy fasanating to me anyway its realy hard to look at the star

caitlin · November 15, 2015 at 20:27

wow thats a long time ago

POD · November 14, 2015 at 11:46

13.3 billion light years certainly is a long, long way away, considering that ONE light year represents around 9 trillion kilometers.. I am interested in knowing whether it could be possible that this galaxy – or at least one or more of its stars – no longer exists; i.e. whether it’s just that we can’t see that yet??!!

    admin · November 16, 2015 at 10:37

    Dear POD, I am pretty sure that this galaxy still exists, after all some of the stars in our our galaxy have been dated to be 13.2 billion years old, so galaxies can can exist for a long, long time.

      POD · November 19, 2015 at 18:28

      Hi Admin….with apologies, but “pretty sure” means you are not sure. I don’t know either, hence my question. My question was merely whether it is POSSIBLE that that galaxy no longer exists (or that a star within the galaxy no longer exists). When talking about 13.2 billion light years, a lot of births and deaths can happen in that time (including the birth of our own solar system).

      Anyone else have any views? We are looking at something which existed long before we did. Could it (or some of ist components) be long gone?

        admin · November 20, 2015 at 08:32

        Dear POD, the only processes I know of that can destroy a galaxy is when a small galaxy is absorbed by a larger one or if similar-sized galaxies merge. According to this site (link)

        … over the 13 billion years since the Big Bang it seems highly probable that any individual galaxy will have suffered at least one major interaction with another galaxy, as well as several minor interactions.

        So it is not impossible that the galaxy in question no longer exists, though the stars in galaxies which merge or collide stay intact. Basically no one can say if that galaxy still exists in the form it was when imaged, but I am confident that some of the stars in it back then still exist somewhere in the Universe.

zeeshan · October 29, 2015 at 15:26

please tell me which star is more away from our universe and also tell me the distance .

    Martina · November 5, 2015 at 11:24

    Hi Zeeshan, Its difficult to determine which exact single star is the most farthest in the Universe, but astronomers using the Hubble and Spitz Telescopes have discovered galaxy MACS0647-JD, which they reckon is 13.3 billion light years away. It is located between constellations Ursa Major and Minor, some of the stars within this this galaxy may some of the most distant in the Universe.

Dan Ricketts · August 22, 2015 at 16:46

Hi, sorry jump in in here but thought you guys may be able to help.
I was told years ago that some of the stars in the sky dont actually exist , as they burnt out years ago and that they are so far away the light is still only just reaching us. Is this correct ?
Many thanks

    admin · August 25, 2015 at 10:25

    Dear Danny, that is a common belief but it is incorrect. Compared to human lifetimes stars live for long times (millions of years) and most of the stars we see with our unaided eyes are in the middle of their lives and within two thousand light years of the Sun, so it’s safe to say that the vast majority of them are still burning away.

Leon Roberson · August 12, 2015 at 02:21

I think it is sooo soo much to learn and we are still in the stone age! I mean open your eyes ppl we really just started using cell phones and computers if you think about it? I think other outer space beings look at us the way we look at ants… Which is rarely! We still kill each other we still smoke cigarettes drink alcohol we are pretty uneducated beings don’t you agree OPEN your eyes! Racism is here on earth like we are not all human.. It’s very crazy when you start to think about it.. It’s just the beginning when we become 1 we will become 1 big brain and we will travel space like we travel the highways today and move from planet to planer when stars die

    Leon Roberson · August 12, 2015 at 02:23

    If we don’t wipe our kind out first ?

theolesarge · July 21, 2015 at 05:11

I’m having trouble understanding “how to perform these large measurements”…. i.e. when we get a result “observation”….how do we calculate the distance? (I’m just learning)!~!

Neville Gericke · June 26, 2015 at 14:33

New galaxies at 13,2 billion light years away! So if one believes in the “big bang” theory, how long has it taken from that moment for the universe to spread so far and at what speed? Seems to me that the distance in time between the first formation of our sun and the day it blows apart and obliterates the earth is simply like a blink of an eye.
Is the Universe expanding from one central point in an ever-increasing outward movement? If so will it ever be possible to determine where the starting point is?
I have a problem imaging an infinite universe.

    admin · June 29, 2015 at 08:27

    Dear Neville, thank you for your questions.

    New galaxies at 13,2 billion light years away!…how long has it taken from that moment for the universe to spread so far and at what speed?

    The light from those galaxies has taken 13.2 billion years to reach us and it was travelling at the speed of light (roughly 300 000 km/s). (This seems pretty self-evident, I am sorry if I have misunderstood your question).

    Is the Universe expanding from one central point in an ever-increasing outward movement? If so will it ever be possible to determine where the starting point is?

    No this isn’t possible, to be honest there is no “starting point”. I can best try to explain it by saying that the whole Universe originated in the Big Bang and immediately started expanding, basically the Big Bang happened “everywhere”!

    I have a problem imaging an infinite universe.

    We all do!

jim jim jim · June 7, 2015 at 14:10

it’s helpful for us.
thanks

Paul · February 19, 2015 at 22:48

Just looking at the sky tonight and googled how far they are from Earth. Ended up here and have to say this is the first time I’ve ever wondered or thought about stars. Nice bit of reading on the site also. Makes you think about so many things looking up at them. Is there people out there looking back at our sun loll never know. Amazing…….

Aquilla Ose Fleetwood, Jr. · January 14, 2015 at 18:43

Hello, I am a Christian who is also interested in the stars since the Bible says the “stars shall be for signs”, (Gen.1:14). I know there is much controversy over the age of the universe and whether is came about in the creation story of the Bible or by evolution. I believe in the creation story so I have no reason to believe in evolution. Google, Aquilla Fleetwood, Night Signs.

(434 words cut – sorry, this material is way off topic- ADMIN)

    oldmoal · February 16, 2015 at 17:54

    How can you be interested in stars (which are intrinsically basic to the age of the universe) when your belief in Biblical creation throws out most of science (particularly physics, chemistry, geology, and archaeology)?

      Aquilla Fleetwood · February 18, 2015 at 17:06

      My scientist is Yahweh! Thanks, Aquilla

      Jhon · March 11, 2016 at 17:53

      I love stars. They are amazing

    Richie · February 19, 2015 at 04:04

    (Content removed: Dear Ritchie, I am sorry but I cannot approve this comment. Not only is it off-topic, but this is not a forum for you to argue with people because you do not approve of their religious beliefs – ADMIN)

    theolesarge · July 21, 2015 at 05:22

    I have struggled with all of this. Here is my thinking now. God does not exist in a time dimension. He is aware of ALL the physical attributes of the universe. When there is an apparent conflict between what we discover in science and the words of the words of the BIBLE, it’s OK. God is aware. HE has just decided not to reveal ALL to us at this time. Be patient….in time he will.

    Evolution is a lie... · September 30, 2016 at 02:07

    It’s because the world is flat… It sounds made up because it is. We’ve all been lied to for 500 years now. I used to believe in the globe until I asked my self why and started asking questions. Trust only those who seek the truth not those who say they found it…

      admin · September 30, 2016 at 10:49

      Dear Evolution, thank you for your comment, but I am sad to say that you are incorrect and without evidence. Setting up and operating any tracking mount on a telescope is instant proof that the world cannot be flat.

Rob Jeffries · September 14, 2014 at 15:25

Hi, I am trying to track down the source of this claim that V762 Cas is the most distant naked eye star. Where does your distance come from? The 2007 revised Hipparcos parallax for this star yields a distance of 850pc – i.e. about 2500 light years.

    admin · September 15, 2014 at 12:38

    Hi Rob, thanks for your question. Yes, there does seem to be an issue here, I am not sure where the large estimate of the distance comes from, it does seem very commonly quoted yet I cannot find where this was originally published. I’ll have the article amended.

XXXL-iterate · July 13, 2014 at 15:59

George Mataxas is right. Something really wrong is with all these tenths of bilions of light years’ distances… Who did really robustly measure them or at least,- did estimate them decently, even with taking into account, so called: the concept of expanding Universe? I do not feally know.

As for me the billions and billions of light years distances and cubic empty spaces, spaced randomly with galaxies, globular clusters, stars, etc., etc. are simply some kind of veiled form of emotional play-ground for the technocrats on Earth, which can not face even the most common and basic, yet the dearest problems, i.e. many of the basic problems of humanity.

On other hand, relatively middle close, and relatively short distances on astronomical scale did really emerged into state-of-art measurement domain. (up to several hundreds od parsecs) I must admit, cause I’m not quite dumb with all these stuffs , regarding the astronomy itself..

george metaxas · May 25, 2014 at 08:25

I’m not very familiar with the astronomical matters, so perhaps it is a silly question, but I will make it anyway.
If the most distant oblect in the universe is 13.8 b.y. away, and this is also indicative of the age of the universe, doesn’t that mean that object was already there 13.8 b.y. ago, as we receive its light today? Then, the age of the universe should’ t be the sum of this time plus the time the object took to move to that distance from the bing bang point? (much higher that 13.8 b.y. as its speed should be much lower than the speed of light)
Thanks

    Frank · June 27, 2014 at 16:31

    That might be true in a static Universe, which is not the case for ours. We know the Universe is expanding at an increasing rate (google dark energy). With that said, the diameter of the observable Universe is 93 billion light years. How we come up with that… I have no clue :p

Alec · October 3, 2013 at 11:09

All this is just amazing, the more u think the more questions you have and it makes u believe a powerful god is out there

    Raphael · June 26, 2014 at 07:25

    Therefore god must be counterintuitive, because my logic says that the most complex things are, less complex should be its causation. And god is a hell of a complex thing.

      Celebrim · October 1, 2014 at 17:04

      This logic is itself counterintuitive, and is not generally applicable but descriptive of only some generative cases. For example, human beings themselves (and life generally) are products of DNA. We would not expect that it would be true that the less complex the DNA, the less complex the resulting organism. In order to have complex life, you must first encode the complex information necessary for the generation of life. Human beings require an incredibly huge amount of information before you can generate one.

      Secondly, even if we accepted a general rule that the complexity of the thing is inversely proportional to the complexity of its causation, such a rule would only apply to things that have causes in the first place. God, by definition, does not have a cause. Counter intuitively, this is a requirement of causality.

      To understand why, consider the simplest possible description of the universe. This simplified universe has always existed in a steady state. It would be ridiculous to ask what the cause of that universe is. The universe has no cause, rather it always has been. It is the cause of all things. We can infinitely regress the question, “What is the cause of this?”, and the answer is, “The prior moment.”, and so the answer to the question, “What is the cause of all things?”, is satisfactorily answered by, “The universe.”, and causality is never violated because there never exists anything without a cause.

      This model of the universe was the leading materialist model of the universe during the 19th century. However, the 20th century brought a revolution in our material understanding. We discovered that the universe had a beginning. We could no longer accept the eternal steady state of the universe as the root cause of all things. Something external to the universe had started it. The people who first proposed that there was scientific proof the universe had a beginning were therefore initially attacked by materialists as being unscientific theists and lambasted and denigrated (in a repeat of the attacks on those that had proposed plate tectonics and catastrophic geology, and for the same reasons).

      Since our model has to be scrapped, Occam’s razor asks us to propose the next simpler system. First, the universe, and secondly some minimally complex external cause which has the properties of being eternal and unchanging we’d originally proposed the universe has. God is one such candidate for the second component of the model, and in my opinion a likely one, since this universe exhibits otherwise inexplicable fine tuning.

      I’m not sure your confidence in your own logic is well placed.

        Dysc · November 14, 2014 at 17:23

        I dislike the rationalization that because we don’t understand what is beyond our limited sense of the small corner of our four dimensional universe that anything outside of scope must be eternal for some reason. Therefore we can scrap the scientific method that got us this far and replace it with what is essentially a human belief system of a greater, eternal and inexplicable power because it has to be in order to satisfy our species personality tick to visualize and organize. Whether you want to call it God or Multiverse or Infinity. It’s all the same concept to paint broad strokes to fill in a gap of lack of knowledge and a need to have a narrative.

        However the most simple explanation that everyone will pass over because it is seemingly impossible to our mind is that the universe simply came into being from nothing. We can’t visualize nothing creating something even though particles exist and cease to exist all around us everyday. Therefore “nothing” won’t even be a candidate to satisfy Occam’s razor. Even if it is by far the most simple and best explanation we have at the moment. We will always opt for unprovable system of Infinity or God that exists in a place outside or beyond our finite dimensional universe.

          Richie · February 19, 2015 at 04:12

          (Content removed: Dear Ritchie, I am sorry but I cannot approve this comment. Not only is it off-topic, but this is not a forum for you to argue with people because you do not approve of their religious beliefs – ADMIN)

          Stephx · July 14, 2016 at 23:19

          We can safely disregard the concept that ‘nothing’ is the source of everything, simply because it defies all logic. No, we don’t know what came before everything, but once we establish the fast that the universe did indeed have an origin, we must accept that fact that the universe also had an originator. There is no such thing as an effect without a cause.
          As far as your self-creating particles are concerned, you still can’t prove that these particles create themselves. There is too much activity in our universe to simply say they couldn’t have been caused by some force still unknown to us. This is where you are the one ‘filling in a gap of lack of knowledge.’ You are, ironically, filling the gap with nothing. ‘If we don’t know the origin, the origin must be nothing and it is simply capable of self-creation.’ This still continues to defy all logic that persists throughout every other known element of the universe. An eternal originator of some kind is the simplest answer that satisfies basic logic. If the originator is not eternal, like if you were to say that our universe was created by another finite universe or some kind of ‘multiverse,’ you are still left with the problem of determining the origin of the multiverse, which leads to a circular argument. Even so, this idea is much more convoluted than the idea of some kind of eternal originator. Yet, so many people outright refuse this concept simply because the idea of ‘God’ is too ‘religious’ and ‘unscientific’. These people refuse to believe that there exists anything capable of escaping empirical detection. You are, of course, free to believe whatever you want, but my advice to anyone searching for truth rather than to justify a long-held notion is to accept the most logical answer, whatever it may be. Even if that answer seems plebeian or religious. When it comes to determining the existence of things unseen, logic is our only tool.

Rob · September 4, 2013 at 12:43

Good article……and it makes me wonder so very many (hypothetical?) questions! If I were to see Deneb at this exact moment…..what year was it emitting that same light [or maybe at what time was it that our current assignment of years was]? Earth in ratio to The Milky Way would compare in what way with the ratio of one hydrogen atom to Earth? Same, more, or less? So many questions…..time and space comparisons…..other life? I won’t even open up the theology can of worms…lol…..and stuff like this makes me think back to a Steve Martin bit: “Let’s Get Small”……and the one fact I realize when I think of these things is that we are small! Good article! 🙂

    admin · September 5, 2013 at 13:17

    If Deneb is 1550 light years away from Earth (and as the article says that is not certain), the light we see tonight left in 2013-1550 = 463 AD.

    Earth is about 12800 km across, while the Milk Way is about 9.5 hundred quadrillion km across, so the Milky Way is about 75 trillion times as wide as the Earth.

    A hydrogen atom is about 0.11nm across (a tiny bit over one ten-billionth of a meter), so the Earth is about 11600 trillion times as wide as a hydrogen atom.

salman · July 31, 2013 at 10:43

Thanks a lot for the article . Its really healpful . Will stay tune for more 🙂 .

Terry Moseley · June 19, 2013 at 21:33

Hi Martina,

An excellent & well presented article. However, it’s not true to say that the Andromeda Galaxy is not visible in the Southern Hemisphere – I have seen it easily from South Africa, and it’s actually visible from as far South as the Falkland Islands or New Zealand.

Terry

    admin · June 20, 2013 at 12:22

    Hi Terry, thanks for the correction, I’ve amended the text accordingly.

AmazingUniverse · June 19, 2013 at 18:09

Prof. James Kaler, using the figure of 2,600 light years as the distance, estimated Deneb to have a diameter 200 times greater than our Sun, and about a quarter of a million times brighter in visible light. That’s why we can see something that is so extremely far away … Nice post!

    admin · June 20, 2013 at 11:59

    Deneb’s basic stats have always been contentious. Based on recent data we have just updated our Beyond the Blue show to the values you’ve quoted.

laura · June 19, 2013 at 15:20

what a great array of colours in the Kepler supernova, hard to believe it happened so long ago.

    lenny · May 25, 2015 at 10:07

    it is an x-ray image: those are false colors.

Nasa=Total Si-Fi BS The Hubble Telescope Hoax – ronaldwederfoort · January 13, 2018 at 17:51

[…] The latest image assembled by images captured by Hubble is the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF). This has allowed astronomers to discover the most distant object UDFj-39546284, an early forming galaxy at over 13.2 billion light years away when the Universe was still developing into the form we see today. (Source) […]

September Night Sky 2017 – The Science Page · October 22, 2017 at 16:23

[…] A key feature of the summer night sky is the famous asterism of the Summer Triangle. Despite being called the ‘summer’ triangle September is still a great time to view it. It will be visible in the south west from nightfall until just after midnight until the end of the month. The 3 stars that mark the triangle Altair, Deneb and Vega are recognised together as a large triangle in the night sky but all officially belong to their own constellations. Altair is the brightest star of Aquila the Eagle who is often pictured in the sky kidnapping Ganymede to be a slave for Zeus the king of the Gods. Vega marks the brightest star in Lyra, representing a lyre, a popular musical instrument in ancient Greek soirees. Deneb is the dimmest of the 3 stars but is the brightest star in Cygnus the Swan, in fact this is one of the most distant stars that you can see with the naked eye. […]

in other places - My Blog · July 21, 2016 at 04:31

[…] new creative venture – those wooden sewing machines! school holiday research – how far away is the farthest star? native box – great for those who are passionate about natural, sustainable, organic, […]

20 Most Popular Astronotes Stories of 2015 | Astronotes · January 4, 2016 at 15:31

[…] (175,999 page views) 5. 8 Myths About Neil Armstrong’s Flight to the Moon (73,579 page views) 6. How Far Away is the Farthest Star? (43,844 page views) 7. The Dangers of Space Travel (39,818 page views) 8. The 10 Best Space and […]

10 Most Popular Astronotes Stories of 2014 | Astronotes · January 8, 2015 at 11:40

[…] 3. How Far Away is the Farthest Star? […]

What's the furthest object observable by the naked eye from earth? | CL-UAT · December 25, 2014 at 20:00

[…] most distant star that can easily be seen is Deneb. It is actually quite bright, at brighter than +2 Magnitude, but is (probably) 1425ly […]

Journey Dancing - Celebrating a sacred, compassionate, creative life · October 14, 2014 at 16:56

[…] Stretch my heart open farther. Crank the glow so it can be seen by creatures on a planet orbiting the farthest visible star. And then, […]

What happens to the stars in the daytime? by Ashe Thurman | Sciences 360 · January 21, 2014 at 20:44

[…] distance from low earth orbiting satellites like the International Space Station to stars as far as 1,500 light years away. The apparent brightness of these objects is determined by a combination of factors including size, […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.