By default, astronomers are basically historians.
Their laboratory is the PAST (always).
Because of the vast age of the universe,
and the late arrival of humans,
astronomers now can directly view
99.9972% of cosmic history and almost
see the instant of creation¹.
For more use the DOOR.
Astronomers are always looking back.
Why? Because they’re always looking at light and observing, recording, and measuring what it does when it arrives on Earth. Even if they directly look at the sun without any telescope (not a smart thing to do btw), they’re not now seeing the sun now, but but what the sun was like 8 and one-third minutes ago.
Because of our sort-of far-out position in the Milky Way, and the “stage” of everything still spreading out from everything else because of the Big Bang, humans are now both (still) close enough, with just enough empty space, to peek through telescopes to the point where everything began.
And measure how much time has passed since then².
Astrophysicists like Hugh Ross (who is also an evangelist) consider this part of God’s plan to enable people to determine much about how and when God created the world.
¹ Hugh Ross, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Baker, 2008; pp. 54-55) .
² Here’s some small print for those who want still more: “Astronomers’ analyses of maps of the radiation from that cosmic origin event have taught them more about its beginning, history, structure, and design than any other set of observations.”