New study confirms light outside our galaxy is brighter than expected

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have analyzed new measurements showing that light emitted by stars outside of our galaxy is two to three times brighter than light from known populations of galaxies, casting doubt on assumptions about the number and surroundings of stars in the universe.

The research team analyzed hundreds of background light images taken by NASA‘s New Horizons LORRI instrument to calculate the Cosmic Optical Background (COF), the sum of light emitted by stars outside the Milky Way over the entire history of the universe.

“We see more light than we should see based on the populations of galaxies that we understand exist and how much light we estimate they should produce,” said Teresa Simons, Ph.D. (astrophysical science and technology ), head of study, postdoctoral fellow at the University of California.

“Determining what this light produces could change our fundamental understanding of how the universe formed over time.”

Earlier this year, an independent team of scientists reported in the Astrophysical Journal Letters that the KOF was twice as large as originally thought. These results were no coincidence, as evidenced by the much broader set of LORRI observations in the new study.

While it is difficult to make COF measurements from Earth without interference due to dust between the planets, the New Horizons spacecraft is located at the edge of our solar system, where it is easier to conduct this kind of research. The scientists hope that future missions and instruments can help study this discrepancy.

“This is a real mystery that needs to be solved,” said Mikhail Zemtsov, research professor at RIT. “I hope that some of the experiments we are involved in here at RIT, including CIBER-2 and SPHEREx, will help us resolve this discrepancy.”


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