Astronomers baffled by ‘ghostly glow’ surrounding solar system

(ORDO NEWS) — A team of astronomers is baffled by a residual “ghostly glow” that “spoils” the near-total blackness of outer space.

The anomaly was discovered after a careful analysis of over 200,000 images taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Their calculations , performed by the SKYSURF project and described in a series of papers in The Astronomical Journal and The Astronomical Journal Letters, take into account well-documented “zodiacal light” from planets, stars, galaxies, and interplanetary dust. But this strange ghostly glow, according to the researchers, has nothing to do with known sources.

Mysterious Light Source

The residual background glow is extremely faint NASA likens it to the light of ten fireflies spreading across the sky but it is nonetheless present, evenly penetrating the pitch darkness of outer space. In other words, this is a real anomaly that has intrigued many scientists.

The strange glow, according to astronomers, may be due to a giant spherical structure of dust lurking in our solar system . Sunlight reflecting off the dust causes it to glow.

In 2021 , NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft also detected a similar excess of an even fainter and equally inexplicable glow that appeared to be even further away.

“If the results of our analysis are correct, then there is another dust component between us and the distance at which the apparatus New Horizons measured,” said Tim Carlton, an astronomer at Arizona State University (ASU) and one of the authors of the study.

This means that we have some kind of additional light coming from inside the solar system.

It could be some new component of the system that was predicted by the hypothesis, but has not yet been quantified.”

Astronomers baffled by ghostly glow surrounding solar system 2
Zodiacal Light

Star Light

The detection of the glow, according to ASU astronomer Rogier Windhorst, would not have been possible without the legendary Hubble. Windhorst says the mysterious photons of light have often been overlooked because astronomers’ attention is usually focused on distant objects.

“But these celestial photons contain important information that can be extracted thanks to Hubble’s unique ability to measure faint levels of brightness with high accuracy,” Windhorst explained, “which he the space telescope has been successfully doing for the last three decades of his life.”

Currently, all eyes are on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope , but Hubble cannot be discounted. Now that the unusual glow has been detected, perhaps other telescopes and ground-based observatories will soon join in the attempt to solve the mystery.


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