The Oldest? Or Just the Oldest Still in View?

Mankind inhabits a warm, lush, comfy island. We thrive here. Our cocoon is a good thing: it shields us from the terrible knowledge that we are surrounded on all sides by the Void. This dark and mysterious realm contains many surprises: huge balls of raging plasma. Great bursts of energy that could boil oceans in an instant. Perfectly smooth spheres and soups of unimaginably thin gas. There are monsters which devour stars and galaxies whole. There are objects so strange they defy language to describe them.

There are also things which are familiar to us: great citadels of light blazing away in the heart of the Void. We call them galaxies. Some are close to us. Some are very similar to our own. Some are not.

At the very edge of space lurk small galaxies barely older than the birth of creation. They are so far away, and their light takes so long to reach us, that we are looking at them when the universe was new. As our instruments get ever more sensitive, we are able to see further and further back into time. Eventually, we will reach a point where we are able to see the exact moment light was first born. We don't yet know if this occurred during or after the Big Bang itself. However, there is no conceivable telescope which can see events that took place before light was around to illuminate them. We will only know for sure when our telescopes become powerful enough.

And what about the little galaxies at the edge of time and space? They serve as our signposts into uncharted territory. What has become of them?

By now, they have doubtless died, their light extinguished, with the Void taking their place. One day the Void will claim us too, as it eventually takes all that exists.

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