facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

'Background' light of universe measured

Jan. 21, 2013 at 9:31 PM   |   Comments

PARIS, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The brightness of the background of light photons that has filled the universe since its formation has been measured for the first time, French researchers say.

Scientists at the country's National Center for Scientific Research say their findings could provide new insight into the size of the universe, the formation of stars and the evolution of galaxies.

The light emitted by all the objects in the universe, such as stars and galaxies, ever since its birth fills intergalactic space with an "ocean" of photons known as the "diffuse extragalactic background light," the researchers said.

The shine of our own galaxy makes it impossible to directly measure this fossil record of the light emitted in the universe, so astrophysicists made use of gamma rays, with energy more than 500 billion times greater than that of visible light, as an alternative, indirect method of measuring this light, a release from the center said.

These measurements made it possible to estimate for the first time the intensity of the starlight contained within all the universe at wavelengths ranging from the near infrared to the ultraviolet, including visible wavelengths, it said.

A better understanding of this diffuse light should yield information about the first stars, shedding light on their formation and on the evolution of galaxies, astronomers said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Video shows scientists dissecting colossal squid Video shows scientists dissecting colossal squid
2
Attic window offers glimpse of life inside a wasp nest Attic window offers glimpse of life inside a wasp nest
3
Boeing may build NASA's space taxi Boeing may build NASA's space taxi
4
First 3D-printed car unveiled in Chicago First 3D-printed car unveiled in Chicago
5
Say goodbye to Chinese sturgeon Say goodbye to Chinese sturgeon
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback