We know that when we see Alpha Centauri with the naked eye we are seeing light that left that star over 4 years ago when Bush was still President. Other stars are obviously much farther away and we’re looking at light that originated, say, when Galileo was still around or when the pyramids were being built. When we’re told that telescopes help us see into ‘deep space’ I’m wondering what that means: do they simply magnify the detail of images or do they help us see the detailed images earlier than we would with the naked eye? The difference that I have in mind is this: a friend comes to my house who I know has been travelling an hour to see me. I first see him when I open the front door. But suppose I’m looking forward to the reunion and I set out to meet him half way so as to abbreviate his journey. Suppose further I have the capacity/technology to meet him at his place of origin so I can see him immediately. Now, does a telescope, say Hubble, allow astronomers and cosmologists to see ‘earlier’ into space? The objective distance between Star X and earth (the telescope) may still be, say, 1000 light years, but do better telescopes help us 'meet' light along the way? Thanks for considering my question

A telescope collects more light than an ordinary human eye. It is a larger "light bucket". Consequently, a telescope helps us to see things that are fainter (as seen from earth) than we can with the naked eye. Consequently, a telescope helps us to see things that are more distant (and hence helps us to see things as they were longer ago). A terrestrial telescope does not "meet" light somewhere along the way, unfortunately. The light must still manage to arrive at Earth.

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