One thoughtful gaze into a clear night sky is enough to put our measly little lives in proper context. All those pinpricks of light have been traveling across the cosmos for billions of years, from stars born in a truly ancient galactic past.
Last week, astronomers spotted something in the sky that surpasses everything we've seen before. According to New Scientist, NASA's Swift satellite spotted the gamma radiation burst from a star exploding 13 billion light-years away. Again, that's 13 BILLION years in the past -- a mere 640 million years after the big bang. Following the April 23, 2009, event, astronomers from around the world turned their attention to the inferred afterglow.