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 FEBRUARY 2017
Comfort for the Afflicted.
That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.


Comments


More Technology

NASA announcement: Could it be aliens? Watch

Image of What is the great discovery? The world waits.

The world waits with bated breath for a big announcement due from NASA on Wednesday. The announcement will take place at 1 PM Eastern time. ... continue reading


Mark of the Beast? Nevada Senator moves to STOP forced RFID chip implants Watch

Image of Is the RFID chip the Mark of the Beast? Some scholars think so.

A Nevada state senator has proposed a bill that would protect citizens from being implanted with RFID chips. The bill, proposed by a ... continue reading


FOUR CLOSE CALLS in four weeks: Scientists wonder what's going on as four asteroids pass dangerously close to Earth Watch

Image of Asteroid BS32 is passing Earth now, in the fourth close call in four weeks.

Whoa, that's close! As the world worries about an asteroid due to pass Earth on February 25, a much closer shave is happening right now. ... continue reading


What is dark matter and why is there an entire galaxy full of it? Watch

Image of Dragonfly 44 is a dark twin of the Milky Way, it gives off no light, but it's there.

Astronomers think they have discovered a galaxy that is 99.9 percent dark matter. If true, the discovery is unprecedented. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Where are the world's nuclear weapons, and how likely is it they will be used? Watch

Image of Pakistan launches a missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. What is the likelihood of one of these weapons being used in the next few decades? And answer above zero is unacceptable.

The world is closer to nuclear war than it has been in decades, and few people are paying attention. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have ... 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.