Text#11 With Updated Hubble Telescope, Reaching Farther Back In Time

  Astronaut repairmen had hardly finished tightening the last stubborn bolts on the Hubble Space Telescope last summer when astronomers set the controls on the refurbished telescope to the dim and distant past. The result was a new long-distance observing record. Astronomers announced in a series of papers over the fall and in a news conference last week that Hubble had recorded images of the earliest and most distant galaxies ever seen, blurry specks of light that burned brightly only 600 million to 800 million years after the Big Bang.

  The specks are clouds only one-twentieth the size of the Milky Way galaxy and only 1 percent of its mass, and seem to show the lingering effects of the first generation of stars to form in the universe in that they get bluer the farther back you go in time. The new galaxies, along with other recent discoveries like the violent supernova explosion of a star only 620 million years after the Big Bang, take astronomers deep into a period of cosmic history known as the dark ages, which has been little explored. It was then that stars and galaxies were starting to light up vigorously in larger and larger numbers and that a fog of hydrogen that had enveloped space after the Big Bang fires had cooled mysteriously dissipated.

  Richard Ellis of the California Institute of Technology, one of many astronomers who have been working with the observations, said, “We’re reaching the beginning where galaxies formed for the first time.” The universe is about 13.7 billion years old, cosmologists agree, meaning that the light from these galaxies has been on its way to us for 13 billion years.

Statements 1 through 10 (circle + if the statement is true, - if it is false)

1. Last summer, the Hubble was renovated in space by astronauts.

2. The Hubble is a microscope that looks deep into space and sends back images to Earth.

3. The images recently taken with the Hubble recorded galaxies 600-800 million years after the Big Bang.

4. The images taken by Hubble are the farthest images ever recorded from Earth.

5. The age astronomers call the “cosmic age” has been little explored until now.

6. The images Hubble sent back to Earth consisted of specks of clouds and light.

7. The clouds documented by Hubble are one-twentieth the size of the galaxy we live in, the Milky Way.

8. Richard Ellis believes that astronomers are seeing back to the beginning where galaxies formed for the first time.

9. The light from Hubble’s images is believed to be 13 billion years old.

10. It is believed by many cosmologists that the universe is less than 13 billion years old.


Text #12 On Wanting to Have Three Walls up Before She Gets Home

He is building a small house in the backyard for when their baby is old enough to use it as a fort or clubhouse or getaway, and he wants to have three walls up before his wife gets home. She is at her mother's house because her mother has slipped on the ice – a skating party, Christmas-themed – and needs help with preparations for her holiday party, planned before the accident. It's snowing lightly, and the air is cold enough to see. He is working on the small house with a new drill he's bought that day. It's a portable drill, and he marvels at its efficiency. He wants to prove something to his wife, because he doesn't build things like this often, and she has implied that she likes it when he does build things, and when he goes biking or plays rugby in the men's league. She was impressed when he assembled a telescope, a birthday gift, in two hours, when the manual had said it would take four. So when she's gone during this day, and the air is gray and dense and the snow falls like ash, he works quickly, trying to get the foundation done. Once he's finished with the foundation, he decides that to impress her – and he wants to impress her in some way every day and wants always to want to impress her – he will need at least three walls up on the house by the time she gets home.

 Circle the correct letter A, B, C, or D:

1. The purpose of the small house is to …

A. allow the man a fort to escape to.

B. appease the man’s wife who is forcing him to the build it.

C. provide a clubhouse for the man’s child.

D. make the man’s wife happy. 


2. His wife likes it when he does all of the following EXCEPT:

A. building things

B. skating

C. biking

D. assembling telescopes


3. From the text, we can infer that to marvel is to:

A. admire

B. question

C. examine

D. use


4. He wants to build the small house quickly because …

A. he must build it as quickly as he built the telescope.

B. he told his wife he would complete it while she helped her mother.

C. he wants to impress his wife.

D. he wants to finish it before the weather gets worse.


5. We can assume that …

A. the husband and wife are competitive.

B. the husband and wife like to spend time apart.

C. the wife thinks the husband is fat.

D. the husband and wife like to do things for each other. 


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