Old Getting Older?

A vague headline on CNN grabbed my wife’s attention. Due to their inability to communicate very well, CNN ran the headline “Huge structure dates back 10.8 billion years”. She thought it meant they had found a building or something, which would have been pretty cool. However, I knew that couldn’t be right. The story is actually pretty heavy and goes something like this:

“We are looking back four-fifths of the way to the beginning of the universe and the existence of this galaxy string will send astrophysicists around the world back to the drawing board to re-examine theories of the formation of the universe,” Francis said. “The simulations tell us that you cannot take the matter in the early universe and line it up in strings this large. There simply hasn’t been enough time since the Big Bang for it to form structures this colossal.”

They have found a ( probably ) string of galaxies dating back 10.8 billion years. What’s the big deal? A little more background is needed.  According to the Big Bang Theory, the Big Bang was about 13.7 billion years ago. It then takes about 5 billion years to form a galaxy. This object is about 10.8 billion years away. It’s too young to be this big. AND, it gets even better. It has quasars. What the big deal about that you say? Quasars indicate the presence of black holes. So what, you say? Black holes come from massive dead stars. Don’t follow? Stars usually take at least 5 billion years to collapse into a well formed black hole. Which leads to:

13.7 billion years – 10.8 billion years – 5 billion years = ?

Get the picture now? CNN really didn’t do this headline justice. Either the Big Bang theory is totally wrong if this dating holds up, or there were multiple big bangs, or something is bad wrong with man’s perception of astrophysics.