Skip to content

IN THE DARK: Astronomers wonder what happened to 80 percent of the light in the universe

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/11/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An enormous deficit of ultraviolet light has turned up missing

The universe has gotten a lot darker. Astronomers have discovered an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the known universe and are at a loss as to why that is.

A $70 million instrument, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, designed by the University of Colorado Boulder and installed on the Hubble Space Telescope was used in the research.

A $70 million instrument, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, designed by the University of Colorado Boulder and installed on the Hubble Space Telescope was used in the research.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
7/11/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Ultraviolet light, universe, disparity


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - They are forthright in saying that there is "something is amiss in the universe." It's estimated that 80 percent of the light is missing.

A research team, including Benjamin Oppenheimer and Charles Danforth of CU-Boulder's Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy have analyzed the tendrils of hydrogen which bridge the vast reaches of empty space between galaxies.

It is better to light one tiny candle than to curse the darkness --

When hydrogen atoms are struck by highly energetic ultraviolet light, they are transformed from electrically neutral atoms and into charged ions.

A $70 million instrument, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, designed by the University of Colorado Boulder and installed on the Hubble Space Telescope was used in the research.

The astronomers were surprised when they found far more hydrogen ions than could be explained with the known ultraviolet light in the universe, which comes primarily from quasars.

"It's as if you're in a big, brightly lit room, but you look around and see only a few 40-watt light bulbs," the Carnegie Institution for Science's Juna Kollmeier says. Kollmeier is the lead author of the study recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

"Where is all that light coming from? It's missing from our census."

The difference between ultraviolet then and now is a stunning 400 percent. Oddly, this mismatch only appears in the nearby, relatively well-studied cosmos.

However, when telescopes focus on galaxies billions of light years away, which shows astronomers what was happening when the universe was young, everything seems to add up.

The fact that the accounting of light needed to ionize hydrogen works in the early universe but falls apart locally has scientists puzzled.

This mismatch emerged from comparing supercomputer simulations of intergalactic gas to the most recent analysis of observations from the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph.

"The simulations fit the data beautifully in the early universe, and they fit the local data beautifully if we're allowed to assume that this extra light is really there," CU-Boulder's Oppenheimer said.

"It's possible the simulations do not reflect reality, which by itself would be a surprise, because intergalactic hydrogen is the component of the universe that we think we understand the best."

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for MARCH 2017
Support for Persecuted Christians.
That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.


Comments


More Technology

Can science stop YOU from aging? New drug starts human trials THIS YEAR Watch

Image of New anti-aging drug to start human trials within the next six months.

Professor David Sinclair and his team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) recently unveiled an anti-aging drug that may help get ... continue reading


The Second Agricultural Revolution: The new tech that will change what you eat and END WORLD HUNGER Watch

Image of Cultured meat has been produced and cooked. Turns out, it's just as delicious as any other meat, without the cruelty.

What you eat is about to change forever, and it comes with a lot of other perks and advantages. For example, ending world hunger. Memphis ... continue reading


Ask Alexa - Is Google Home connected to CIA? 'I've got to admit, I'm not sure' Watch

Image of Is Alexa connected to the CIA?

A video shared on YouTube by user SHUBHAM SHUKLA reveals Google Home's "Alexa" answering a short series of questions. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Let there be light!' Astronomers make an exciting discovery about the first light in the universe Watch

Image of The galaxy [not pictured] is thought to be just 600 years old, a literal baby in cosmic terms.

Astronomers have discovered the earliest galaxy yet, born just 600 years after the creation of the universe. The discovery yields a ... continue reading


UFO spotted on Pacific sea floor, what does this medieval Catholic monk have to do with it? Watch

Image of William of Occam has some advice for our intrepid investigators.

UFO experts are puzzled over the discovery of a massive circular object that appears to have moved erratically on the Pacific sea floor. ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.