I think my favorite part of science is finding something expected that isn’t quite what we expected. This particular discovery is no different and I’m giggling over it.
Astronomers have found galaxies 11 billion light years from Earth. We knew they were there, we’ve seen a sizable number but were always looking for more. Higher numbers mean more we can pull data from. No surprises. Everything’s normal. We keep looking.
A cluster of 39 galaxies come to astronomers’ attention.
These old behemoths are tightly pack and massive on a scale unknown for the early Universe until now. It’s hard to read the light signature on these guys because they’re so deep in redshift the spectroscopy is hard to read. And they’ve got huge black holes, which weren’t expected in the early Universe either. Hopefully we’ll get better pictures of these beasties in the future and those will tell us more.
But I love when science shows us things were weren’t expecting. It can add spice to our sci-fi too. Looking back to the Moon while conducting new missions. Bam! We accidentally took some Tardigrades along for the ride, and they might be alive! There are squid in the deep, deep fathoms of the ocean. And giant squid. How did we miss those?
Adding some surprises to the science in our science fiction is a great way to up the goodness of the story. Yeah, wormholes can be used to travel great distances in no time flat, but oops, protag wasn’t counting on the 1 wormholes in every 100,000 that took them to another Universe. Genetic human-animal hybrids happen just fine in 99 out of 100 splices, but that bat gene turns someone into a vampire every once in a while. GMO corn crops are wonderful, but sometimes a crop sprouts that needs some whole livers planted along with them to feed on.
You see where this is heading. Go wild.
Science in the pursuit of Fiction.