As a present from Scientific American I got a 2015 calendar. It is made with photographs from the Hubble space telescope. The one for January is a beautiful picture of a supernova remnant (0509-67.5) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/supernova-source.html and shows an expanding ring or about 23 light-years in diameter.
Here is the thing: In the description it is mentioned that the super nova explosion took place 400 years ago and located in the Large Magellanic cloud at about 170,000 light years from Earth. I know my wife is always saying that I am not a guy that understand with few words. But it seems to me that the description is taking for granted that we are always making relativistic adjustments to time, because if light took 170,000 years to get here how come the explosion only occurred 400 years ago?
I am not a perfectionist and will not try to be, but what has been bugging my mind is how difficult it is for us to have a conversation where time is involved without being careful of keeping track of the frame of reference.
So for me, the description should have stated that the supernova explosion occurred 400 years before, not 400 year ago.
Is this making any sense?
As we are trying to understand the ultimate reality, as in her recent book Amanda Gefter “Trespassing Einten’s Lawn” tries; we must be very careful with semantics, as our language is limited and our understanding is even more limited.