Outer space is not pitch black, says scientists

Date:23 November 2020 Author: Kirsten Jacobs

A new study reveals that what we have believed about outer space for decades is not true. Scientists have determined that outer space is not pitch black as thought, but rather filled with light.

The study, which is scheduled to be published in The Astrophysical Journal, explains that while space is dark there is tons of unexplained light being emitted.

Astronomer Tod Lauer of Arizona’s National Optical Astronomy Observatory and a team of researchers with NASA’s New Horizons space mission used existing data from the New Horizons LORRI camera to measure the optical-band sky brightness within seven high galactic latitude fields.

The team used the LORRI camera and simple relescope to take images of space, then studied the emptiest images captured and processed them to remove any residual zodiacal light. Once processed, they were left with clean images of deep space without any light pollution, yet still found light sources coming from beyond our own galaxy. Even after subtracting more light they believe could be attributed to all the galaxies, there was still a substantial amount of unexplained light.

Researchers, however, are unsure of where this light is coming from. They hypothesize that is could be from yet undiscovered stars or galaxies, or something else entirely.

Despite not knowing where the light is coming from, this finding is sure to change how astronomers view space.

“They’re saying that there’s as much light outside of galaxies as there is inside of galaxies, which is a pretty tough pill to swallow, frankly,” said Michael Zemcov, an astrophysicist at Rochester Institute of Technology.

“As a person who studies the universe, I really want to know what the universe is made of and what are all the components of the universe,” said Marc Postman, an astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “We would like to think that the components that give off light are something that we can really get a good sense of and understand why there is that much light.”

 

Picture: Pexels

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