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Someone here help me. How far back can we really look? If the galaxy has been expanding at (fill in the rate here) and since there have been no dramatic frictional losses to slow that rate, but probably some gravitional forces to slow that rate - and the speed of light has always been fairly constant but way beyond the current rate, unless a significant portion of the early expansion was at a rate beyond the speed of light (is that even possible for matter with significant mass?), wouldn't the light from the Big Bang and the earliest formations have long since passed us?

I found these two books to be fairly easy to read, and they present a lot of good info on the very early history, as well as possible "end scenarios" of the universe.

Before the Beginning by Martin Rees, published in 1997.

A lot of progress has been made even since 1997 in understanding the early moments after the big bang, and this book incorporates some of the latest:

The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking, published in 2001.

The first can be had in hardcover for about $3.00, and the second goes for about $12.00 on

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