How Far the Universe Really Extends

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Our world map was finally complete in the 1820s, with the discovery of Antarctica. But why stop at the end of the earth? Or the moon? What’s the farthest we could go?
Despite all our advancements, for a very long time, the farthest man could travel was restricted to distances on the earth. In April of 1961, that all changed when humanity became a spacefaring species. The Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, was the first man in space. He blasted into orbit on a 108-minute flight high above Earth. The Americans followed a few months later.

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- In 1969, the Apollo 11 mission landed the first two men on the Moon.
- Another great feat was achieved the next year in April 1970, when the crew of NASA's Apollo 13 swung wide around the far side of the moon at an altitude of 158 miles, putting them 248,655 miles away from Earth.
- Humans kept exploring in the hope that maybe there’s something beyond the Milky Way as well. At this point, astronomers noticed that some stars were dimmer than others.
- Leavitt had studied thousands of Variable stars; stars whose brightness, as seen from the Earth, fluctuates. She found that if certain stars, known as Cepheid variables, pulsate at the same rate, they have the same brightness.
- Around this time, work was also going on to install the Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, California. This would be the world's largest telescope from 1917 to 1949.
- The farthest galaxy observed is named EGS-zs8-1. The light from it took 13.1 billion years to reach us.
- No one really knows what lies farthest from us, or how big our universe really is. Some say that the universe is edgeless, while others believe in a multiverse hypothesis.

#spacefacts #brightside #galaxy

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