Much Longer Than Six Thousand Years Ago, in Galaxies Far Far Away

As the PS thread on Giant ‘Baby’ Galaxies included discussion on the long intervals required to develop some cosmic structures, I thought this report from last year relevant.

The galactic monster is an especially large example of a radio galaxy, or a galaxy with a supermassive at the center which gobbles up enormous amounts of matter before spitting it out — sending gigantic two jets of plasma moving at close to the speed of light. After traveling millions of light-years, the plasma beams slow, spreading out into plumes that emit light in the form of radio waves. In the case of Alcyoneus, its lobes are the largest ever discovered.

Astronomers just found the largest galaxy ever discovered

Source paper:
The discovery of a radio galaxy of at least 5 Mpc

Distance: 3.5 Billion Light Years

Even at relativistic speeds, the distance traversed by the lobe jets involves travel time of millions of years.

Please feel free to add any favorite “cosmic structures that take time to form” examples to this thread.


I can’t prove it in some ultimate sense, but this does kinda look to me like the elliptical galaxy is drawing the stars, gas, and dust of the spiral galaxy above it towards itself

And I still can’t prove this either, but it kinda looks like similar things are going on here:

These could have fooled me too:

And why anyone would think these stretched arms and trails of stars has anything to do with gravity is an enduring mystery:


Besides those I would posit basically any picture of gravitational lensing by a cluster of galaxies show what looks like something that would have to occur on million year timescales. The light leaving a galaxy far behind a large cluster would have to travel around it and get lensed by the gravitational effect of that cluster of galaxy in order for us to see the gravitationally lensed (bent, stretched and magnified) light from it.

Galactic jets millions of light years long.

Even at near the speed of light it would take millions of years for the matter to reach those distances.


Yes, these galaxies, with very different histories, are falling into each other.

ARP 142 - The Penguin and the Egg

Distance: 23 Million Light Years

NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute

This dramatic pairing shows two galaxies that couldn’t look more different as their mutual gravitational attraction slowly drags them closer together.

The “penguin” part of the pair, NGC 2936, was probably once a relatively normal-looking spiral galaxy, flattened like a pancake with smoothly symmetric spiral arms. Rich with newly-formed hot stars, seen in visible light from Hubble as bluish filaments, its shape has now been twisted and distorted as it responds to the gravitational tugs of its neighbor. Strands of gas mixed with dust stand out as red filaments detected at longer wavelengths of infrared light seen by Spitzer.

The “egg” of the pair, NGC 2937, by contrast, is nearly featureless. The distinctly different greenish glow of starlight tells the story of a population of much older stars. The absence of glowing red dust features informs us that it has long since lost its reservoir of gas and dust from which new stars can form. While this galaxy is certainly reacting to the presence of its neighbor, its smooth distribution of stars obscures any obvious distortions of its shape.


Easy. God just sped up the rest of the universe so that all this galactic evolution took place in only one Earth-day, so that later He could write that He did it in one day, because… because… well, God works in mysterious ways :man_shrugging:


An excellent idea.
One former YEC who has really impressed me is David MacMillan who became fascinated by astronomy. The persuasive power of that field eventually flipped him, and one important picture was this one:

It shows a distant galaxy, moving fast, leaving behind a trail of hot gas 280,000 light years in length.
His story is here: Path Across the Stars. Everything I gained when I left science… | by David MacMillan | The Startup | Medium and it includes other images of moving structures far older than the 6000 year universe. I’d encourage everyone to look it over as it is both quite moving, and it gives considerable insight into YEC thinking.


Your second example of the nearly merged Antennae Galaxies, is also studiously ignored by YEC.

Distance from earth: 45 million light years.

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

Spanning about 500 thousand light-years, this stunning composited view also reveals new star clusters and matter flung far from the scene of the accident by gravitational tidal forces.

NASA Hubblesite: The Antennae Galaxies/NGC 4038-4039

These “tidal tails” were formed during the initial encounter of the galaxies some 200 to 300 million years ago.

Closer view of the galactic cores and overlap here

Also, this Viewspace Antennae Galaxies site nicely allows clicking though views seen at different wavelengths.

The Antennae Galaxies are a go to for astronomical studies of star formation, as the overlap region where gas clouds from the two galaxies encounter each other at high velocity, is full of Super Star Clusters, for example:

The formation of the young massive cluster B1 in the Antennae galaxies (NGC 4038/NGC 4039) triggered by cloud-cloud collision

It is likely that SSC B1 was formed from molecular gas of ∼107 M⊙ with a star formation
efficiency of ∼10 % in 1 Myr.

Tracing the sites of obscured star formation in the Antennae galaxies with Herschel-PACS

Star formation histories within the Antennae galaxies (Arp 244)

So what the data presents is a process of gravitational interaction lasting hundreds of millions of years, has brought about starburst over tens of millions of years, which we are seeing from earth after light has traveled 45 million years. All of this fits fine with scientific timescales, but as Andrew suggests, precipitate more “mysterious ways” explanations from YEC. Except in this case they mostly prefer to just not draw attention.


Tadpole galaxies are an informal classification, but this is the Tadpole Galaxy.

Distance from Earth: 420 Million Light Years

The Tadpole Galaxy: Distorted Victim of Cosmic Collision

Strong gravitational forces from the interaction created the long tail of debris, consisting of stars and gas that stretch out more than 280,000 light-years.

Numerous young blue stars and star clusters, spawned by the galaxy collision, are seen in the spiral arms, as well as in the long “tidal” tail of stars. Each of these clusters represents the formation of up to about a million stars. Their color is blue because they contain very massive stars, which are 10 times hotter and 1 million times brighter than our Sun. Once formed, the star clusters become redder with age as the most massive and bluest stars exhaust their fuel and burn out. These clusters will eventually become old globular clusters similar to those found in essentially all halos of galaxies, including our own Milky Way.

Velocities involved in galactic interactions may be fast in everyday terms, but are nowhere near the speed of light. A tail of 280,000 light years would be several million years in the making. This is another galaxy that gets the silent treatment from YEC; a search of the archives of AiG and other YEC sites come up blank. A picture is worth a thousand words.


To me, it’s sort of weird to think that YEC should be reactive about “tadpoles” and “jellyfish” in the skies. They are created then sustained by laws of nature, in a similar way as jellyfish and tadpoles are created and sustained, except they are living creatures so have biological systems.

Your comparison is legitimate, and essentially espouses the Omphalos hypothesis. Both apparent galactic histories and apparent biological history can be conceived in terms of Philip Gosse’s much maligned Omphalos hypothesis, quite literally referring to Adam and Eve’s belly button. Although his solution of apparent age was nearly universally rejected, by skeptics as unnecessary and believers as soiling the integrity of God, the premise of his argument was valid, that apparent history is essential to any observed stage in nature, and will display effects which never had causes.

Project Gutenberg - Omphalos. Bold mine:

It is evident that there is no one point in the history of any single creature, which is a legitimate beginning of existence. And this is not the law of some particular species, but of all: it pervades all classes of animals, all classes of plants, from the queenly palm down to the protococcus, from the monad up to man: the life of every organic being is whirling in a ceaseless circle, to which one knows not how to assign any commencement,—I will not say any certain or even probable, but any possible, commencement. The cow is as inevitable a sequence of the embryo, as the embryo is of the cow.[Pg 123] Looking only at nature, or looking at it only with the lights of experience and reason, I see not how it is possible to avoid one of these two theories, the development of all organic existence out of gaseous elements, or the eternity of matter in its present forms.

Creation, however, solves the dilemma. I have, in my postulates, begged the fact of creation, and I shall not, therefore, attempt to prove it. Creation, the sovereign fiat of Almighty Power, gives us the commencing point, which we in vain seek in nature. But what is creation? It is the sudden bursting into a circle. Since there is no one stage in the course of existence, which, more than any other affords a natural commencing point, whatever stage is selected by the arbitrary will of God, must be an unnatural, or rather a preter-natural, commencing point.

The life-history of every organism commenced at some point or other of its circular course. It was created, called into being, in some definite stage. Possibly, various creatures differed in this respect; perhaps some began existence in one stage of development, some in another; but every separate organism had a distinct point at which it began to live. Before that point there was nothing; this particular organism had till then no existence; its history presents an absolute blank; it was not.

But the whole organisation of the creature thus newly called into existence, looks back to the course of an endless circle in the past. Its whole structure displays a series of developments, which as distinctly witness to former conditions as do those which are presented in the cow, the butterfly, and the fern, of the present day. But what former conditions? The conditions thus witnessed unto, as being necessarily implied in the present organisation, were non-existent; the history was a perfect blank till the moment of creation. The past conditions or stages of existence in question, can indeed be as triumphantly inferred by legitimate deduction from the present, as can those of our cow or butterfly; they rest on the very same evidences; they are identically the same in every respect, except in this one, that they were unreal. They exist only in their results; they are effects which never had causes.

As a navel is to Adam, so are the path of galaxies which display interactions which cannot in any way or by any means be distinguished from real history. Apparent history equals real history in every detail - there is no chink or anomaly that tells, wink wink, this is neither authentic or belongs to our cause and effect universe. It is justified to reject both “apparent age” as theologically conflicted and “mature creation” as self inconsistent, and allow that the processes of nature are as connected with time as they appear.


I do have to concede that nothing can beat the “if reality and doctrine differ, reality is wrong and doctrine is right” method. I welcome that you’ve taken to finally fully embrace biting the bullet and agreeing things appear aged, they were just created that way. No reason to engage in all that pretense anymore. If there’s a problem, miracle it away.



Not sure it is the same, as all of cosmic “history” has not been observed, and the prediction that it will be observed has failed with every new telescope. Plus, these aren’t living objects. Ex nihilo creation doesn’t require objects to be static. Humans create and set things in motion. Our art is playful and interactive. The heavens are much more comparable to art than to life cycles of biological organisms, in my opinon.

I have always said my views on science are based on the Bible. Science is rarely settled, and I stated before JWST had any pictures that if it found evidence of galaxy formation in the early universe that could affect my views. I don’t find the science definitive enough to believe my interpretation of the Bible is wrong. As far as doctrine related to cosmology goes, I think the earth being created before heavenly bodies is very important. We are meant to think earth is significant and things in the universe aren’t to be worshipped. Even in eschatology it matters because the heavens dissolve away first. That is a piece of an important puzzle just like Adam and Eve being the sole progenitors of all humanity and created in the image and likeness of God, and death not entering the world until sin. These are all part of that puzzle that forms the foundation of Christianity.

I’m not agreeing they appear aged. I’m agreeing they appear aged to you. As far as I can tell the scientific community interprets them that way because the only naturally unexplainable cause in the universe is before the Big Bang. Stars and galaxies are determined to be young or old based on their composition.

To me they are created objects made to obey laws of nature that cause both stability and movement in the heavens. Each galaxy and star is a unique work of art. The more clearly we can see them, the more unique they become. I predicted earlier that we will continue to be able to categorize them into types, more than the few categories there are now. In evolution, you can posit that mutations can cause almost any new function (even though I also find that explanation ridiculous - information comes from a mind). In physics, there are only so many natural laws. You’re going to run out of explanations.

Who in the world predicted that all of cosmic history will be observed with every new telescope? Making stuff up again are we?

Yeah but they put the dominoes balanced on edge. Your rationalization is sort of like someone creating a large domino landscape with 13 billion years worth of bricks already tipped over. One has to wonder why the universe doesn’t look like it was created 6000 years ago, with 6000 years worth of tipped over bricks instead of 13 billion years of them. But here we are and you’re saying that.

I congratulate you, you’ve accepted this is where you must go to remain a YEC. Good luck convincing anyone of this who isn’t already one.


ROFL. Okay Valerie. They appear aged to me. Not to you.

:hear_no_evil: :see_no_evil:


That is a deflection. The cosmos contains these structures, so whatever cosmology you end up with must accommodate the time required to account for them. As a layperson, you do not even need to rely on expert scientists to realize the implications of these images. A common knowledge of familiar science suffices, and rigorous understanding of GR, particle physics, or quantum theory as applied to early epoch big bang theory is not required.

It is all nature, and all subject to the same physical laws, right down to the quarks in a cat’s whisker.

Composition is a big factor, but hardly the only one. This is not only about the appearance of age, however. Interacting galaxies do not just appear old, but display the effects of a process that would have been ongoing for millions of years. If you encounter a flaming wreckage on a highway, with vehicle parts strewn all over the road, you don’t jump to conclude this is a work of art with pieces carefully arranged. Galactic collisions either show real history or counterfeit history as false as supernovae for stars which never existed.


Not entirely off-topic.


Yep, it’s all just subjective!

Please note that these are not the foundation of Christianity, but rather the foundation according to one meta-narrative about Christianity. Young Earth Creationists and many allied groups within Christianity will occasionally confess this (rather than it not being central) so pay attention to when they do this. Death entering the world, Adam and Eve beinng sole progenitors and others aspects of YECism are said to be paramount. This is mainly because certain doctrine depends upon this interpretive strategy. In truth, you can believe this and follow Christ, yet is not necessary.

Luke 23: 42-43 (ESV): And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Christ is the foundation.

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Heh, well I guess that shows the depth of your confusion. It clearly doesn’t matter whether someone thinks about it with their mind and puts a T into the sequence GCCAACG somewhere and this gives some function, or whether a mutation does. Since you are equating function with information, then either way it’s information whether a mind or a mutation does it.

What’s ridiculous is how little you actually understand.