Deep Space Implied Deep Time

Already in a paper of 1802 Herschel considered the idea that ‘deep space’ must also imply ‘deep time’. He wrote in his Preface: A telescope with a power of penetrating into space, like my 40 foot one, has also, as it may be called, a power of penetrating into time past … [from a remote nebula] the rays of light which convey its image to the eye, must have been more than 19 hundred and 10 thousand — that is — almost two million years on their way.’ The universe was therefore almost unimaginably older than people had previously thought. This idea of deep time was one which required a great deal of explanation to the layman.

See Also: Michael Hoskin, William Herschel and the Construction of the Heavens, 1963, p130


Herschel realized the very large universe required a very old universe.

Folksonomies: history astronomy cosmos time

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Time (0.974886): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Astronomy (0.950156): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Universe (0.938445): dbpedia | freebase
Space (0.726385): dbpedia | freebase
General relativity (0.637671): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Physics (0.620057): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Gottfried Leibniz (0.597335): dbpedia | opencyc | yago
Spacetime (0.587751): dbpedia | freebase | yago

 The Age of Wonder
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Holmes , Richard (2010-03-02), The Age of Wonder, Vintage, Retrieved on 2012-01-02
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: history enlightenment science