AMERICAN NOTES: The Edge of Night

Restlessly computing and quantifying, weighing and rationalizing, man is forever trying to take the measure of the universe. Now Astronomer Allan R. Sandage of the Hale Observatories in Pasadena, Calif., proclaims that he and his colleagues elsewhere in the U.S. may have finally done just that. They have, he said, apparently seen "the edge" of the universe.

The argument goes like this: quasars, which are small, starlike objects, apparently shine more brightly than any other celestial bodies; the most distant quasar known to man, more than 12 billion light years away, appears so luminous to the astronomer's telescope that even...

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