A Guide On Time Travel

Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory

I am a frequent time traveler. These eyes of mine have gazed upon the past in awestruck humility. I can view objects and events as recent as a few seconds ago up to an unimaginably long gone scene, thousands upon thousands of bygone years past.

These tableaus I view in a very real way, not through imagination but with true sight. The past is in the present and it is there for you to see right now. It's very simple on the surface, yet to think of it deeply is to rack your brain to the point of pure exhaustion, though I will teach you how to do it.

It's an extremely easy one-step process...you just have to look up.


Visions of the Recent Past

The Moon

Look up at the Moon. The method of sighting the Moon is by reflection. The Moon does not produce its own light but reflects the light from the Sun. This reflected light takes 1.25 seconds to travel to Earth. Therefore, the Moon that you see is 1.25 seconds in the past.

The Sun

Look up at the Sun (not for very long or you will burn your retinas). Our very own life-giving yellow dwarf star produces its own light by nuclear fusion. That light travels an average distance of 92,960,000 miles (149,600,000 km) to get here to Earth. That is an average distance because the Earth's orbit is not a perfect circle but more elliptical. Therefore the distance between the Sun and Earth vary throughout the year. So, the average time it takes for light to reach the Earth is 8.23 minutes. The Sun that you see is over 8 minutes in the past.

Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri

Closer (Recent) Neighbors

Alpha Centauri

The nearest visible star to our Sun is not actually a single star at all but a binary star system. Alpha Centauri A and B and their companion Proxima Centauri appear as a single star to the naked eye. They are approximately 4.3 light years away. Of course, this means you are looking over four years in the past when you gaze upon them. George W. Bush was being inaugurated for his second term at that time (this is written in March 2009).

Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is the farthest heavenly body visible to the naked eye. It consists of over one trillion stars and is about 220,000 light years in diameter. At approximately 2.3 million light years away, it is the closest galaxy to our own Milky Way. So when you look up at the fuzzy image of Andromeda, you are looking 2.3 million years into the past. When that light first started it's trek to our curious eyes the mammoth, saber-tooth tiger and Homo habilis (an early form of human) roamed the Earth.

Alas, our sister galaxy is not so friendly. It is on a collision course with the Milky Way. We only have 3-5 billion years to prepare for our doom.

The Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope

With a Little Help from Hubble

This is where is gets complicated; where space and time merge, turning your mind into mush when trying to compute the astronomical data. Here is the end result though:

With the help of Hubble, you can view the very beginnings of the universe which we currently reside; thus taking us on a journey billions of years into the past.

Yes, it is possible to see the universal afterbirth of the Big Bang.

Interesting Facts

  • One Light Year = 5,878,630,000,000 miles (9,460,730,472,580 km)
  • Light travels at 186,282 miles per second (299,793 kmps)
  • To go from one edge of the Milky Way to the other would take 100,000 years traveling at light speed.


Hubble Ultra Deep Field
Hubble Ultra Deep Field

In the Beginning...

The deepest images ever taken of the universe were shot by the Hubble back in 2003.

The Hubble focused its lens on a small portion of the night sky (13 millionth of the whole) and opened its shutter, creating a time exposure. The results of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) were spectacular. Over 10,000 galaxies are visible in just that one small portion of the sky.

The images take us on a time travel expedition of 13 billion years in the past, 400 million years after the Big Bang (the relative infancy of the universe). Through these Hubble images we can observe the formations of stars and galaxies, bringing us to the brink of the very beginning of time and space.  Simply amazing!

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Comments 27 comments

Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

We studied astronomy this year for our science curriculum. The kids will love the way you put this!!

So I'm looking into the past. I've never thought of it that way.

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Cool! Are you gonna share this with your kids?

I also work with the developmentally disabled.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

A very interesting way to look at the stars and galaxies - as time travel. A facinating subject expertly told. Thanks for the lesson and the entertainment.

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Thank you very much CR. I appreciate it.

Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

I'll share it with my children. We homeschool.

The kids with special needs are the ones I work with part time. I think of them as mine, sometimes, though. We have more fun!!!!

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

What an interesting approach to use time travel to share knowledge about the heavens, I enjoyed it! Will send this hub to my nephew as he is a teacher in Thailand and can use this for his students, and will share with my a forum I have. I have been wanting to go to a planetarium but we never make the time, will remind my s/o again as I know we will have fun.

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Thanks VioletSun. Wow, this hub is going to be a part of two separate ciriculums! Neat!!!

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

Fascinating! Very nice take on this! :)

Shady Lady profile image

Shady Lady 7 years ago from here and there

Very interesting perspective. You are smart and funny! Impressive!

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Thanks Suzanne.

Shady Lady: I guess I have it all - an awesome sense of humor and intimidating intelligence.

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

I'm impressed. It is mind boggling. I have done this for years now and it is fun. Good facts too. You've done your homework well. I gave my telescope to my grandson and he enjoys it a lot. thanks for a great hub

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Thank you CC. I love astronomy!

issues veritas 7 years ago


nice hub and great pictures.

I like your idea that everything you look at in the universe has already happened and you only see it after it has traveled at the speed of light.

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Thanks Issues Truth!

avarano 7 years ago

My son has done a project on the Hubble space telescope!

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Cool. I bet he enjoyed that.

jjrubio 7 years ago

awesome hub....I like it....I LIKE IT ALOT!-

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Thank you jjrubio! Glad you like it.

Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

Thumbs up for this Hub, Hubble and astronomy! It is so nice to travel through the time - all the time!

Thanks for this Hub!

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Thank you and your welcome.

MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

MamaDragonfly2677 7 years ago from New York

The channel never leaves "Naked Science" when it is on IN MY HOUSE! Man, there is NOTHING in this world I could possibly want more than to take a ride up there! Someday, maybe! If a school teacher can do it, than so can I!!!

Great hub Scott. I loved it!

Now I can't wait for that star in the Carina Nebula to explode so we can all see it's after-life... I hope it happens before I die so I can see it! :)

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO Author

Thank you!!!

gmanrique2007 7 years ago

Very good¡, My friend

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 7 years ago from California

Yes, indeed, all we have to do is look up to see the past! Andromeda, queen of the sky!!! You gotta love astronomy! In that regard, I'm definitely a nerd, but I don't like calling myself a dork, because I don't consider myself to be socially inept. Later!

trusouldj profile image

trusouldj 5 years ago from Indiana

All of this to say ... I miss Star Trek The next Generation. Right?

Sharminator profile image

Sharminator 5 years ago

Great hub and a nice way to look at time travel everyone can do...

TheMathematician 4 years ago

Guess Einstein wasn't completely right, was he? (Just kidding, we're only seeing the past here, not going. Special relativity was not violated.) Great page, overall, I love thinking about that kind of phenomenon.

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