|MadSci Network: Astronomy|
Hi Dave, There's been a lot of excitement recently as new and powerful astronomical surveys discover objects further away than any that have been detected before. It seems that every week the record gets pushed back a little further. The basic answer to your question is that even if the universe is only (!) 14 billion years old we can see objects further away than 14 billion light years because the universe is expanding. Because of of this expansion, the object is further away now than it was when the light that we see today was emitted. Or in other words, the light from the object may have been travelling for close to 14 billion years, but the distance we measure now must be greater than 14 billion light-years because the universe itself has gotten bigger since the time the light was emitted! The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is one of the major surveys that is turning up extremely distant objects. Their web page has a comprehensive discussion of your very question, so I would recommend you look there for more information! Meghan [Moderator's note: several other questions and answers on our site also deal with this topic. Try using our search engine, with 'universe expansion distance' in the search box, to find out more.]
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