I was reading about the new Webb Telescope, and the article mentioned the stretched glow of objects that shone billions of years ago. When I searched for “stretched glow stars,” there were no results, no I guess it’s time to do some research. It looks like the article I was reading was referencing something called the cosmic microwave background (CMB). This is a glow that seems uniform but has variations because of fluctuations that existed at the beginning of everything that was stretched out at space expanded.

That’s where the description gets tough to understand for me. I wanted to understand it in the way I describe next, but after rereading the article, I think it’s the wrong interpretation (though understandable):

[the glow might be similar to throwing a bunch of sand on the floor in front of you. It spreads out and moves around objects, but the time of its expansion onto the floor is fairly uniform, so you would know that a pencil was sitting there when the sand was thrown from the outline left behind. So this light, traveling at a constant speed (I assume) can become a clock, and if you can measure historical fluctuations within the traveled distance, then you’d have major events recorded within the stretched glow. I assume these would have to be major events, as opposed to something like the formation of our own planet.]

That would be too easy, however. A universal clock and record of stars billions of years old would not be that easy to find in a telescope.

It seems that the light itself is not the "clock" as much as subatomic heavy particles that move back and forth, so that’s where I get lost. I am not sure why they move and why it’s constant, as in a clock, or how light fits into the whole scenario, or why the new telescope will be able to see this light and the variations. Or if it’s worth looking for it, since we’ll have to learn how to interpret it all, and it will just lead us to an answer none of us really want about where, when, and how scientists believe everything was formed, our goal being to make our greatest achievement as humans the explanation of everything. Of course, that explanation, if ever it is made, is self-defeating, since it would only prove everything was for nothing, at least for the past 14 billion years, us included, so that's why I only spent a few minutes trying to grasp it.