Web edition: December 6, 2005
Print edition: December 10, 2005; Vol.168 #24 (p. 383)
The recent discovery of "mature" galaxies at distances corresponding to the remote cosmic past ("Crisis in the Cosmos? Galaxy formation theory is in peril," SN: 10/8/05, p. 235) threatens more than galaxy-formation theory. It threatens to shatter the increasingly fragile Big Bang paradigm by showing that the composition of the cosmos is uniform in time and space.
Michael J. Dunn
If a Big Bang didn't occur half-a-billion years before this galaxy reached its observed state, there would be no "cosmic conundrum" requiring explanation. Unfortunately, every time new observations conflict with Big Bang theory, the theory adds on one more tortured, ad hoc conjecture to save itself.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
The anomaly of old galaxies in the first 800 million years of the universe is easily resolved once you remove the assumption that red shift always measures recessional velocity.
L. E. Joiner
The observations cited in the article don't contradict the basic Big Bang model. Almost all astronomers agree that redshift does connote distance.R. Cowen