Science  04 Oct 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4721, pp. 15-18
DOI: 10.1126/science.230.4721.15


The farthest of the galaxies that can be seen through the large ground-based telescopes of modern astronomy, such as those on La Palma in the Canary Islands, are so far away that they appear as they did close to the time of the origin of the universe, perhaps some 10 billion years ago. Much has been learned, and much has still to be learned, about the young universe from optical and radio telescopes, but these instruments cannot be used to look directly at the universe in its first few hundred thousand years. Instead, they are used to search the relatively recent past for relics of much earlier times. Together with experiments planned for the next generation of elementary particle accelerators, astronomical observations should continue to extend what is known about the universe backward in time to the Big Bang and may eventually help to reveal the origins of the physical laws that govern the universe.