Science: Deflating NASA's Universe

The announcement was truly cosmic. After examining data transmitted from OAO-II, its second Orbiting Astronomical Observatory—which is still functioning effectively after a year in space —NASA this month declared that "astronomers are contemplating the possibility that the universe may be several times larger than previously believed." And how large is that? Some 40 billion lightyears* in diameter, concluded newsmen after talking to NASA. Breathlessly they reported that the most distant galaxies might be twice and even four times as far away as anyone had expected.

NASA's assumption was based on OAO-II's report of...

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