News World News

Monday 25 September 2017

Space scientists baffled over who turned out lights

The total amount of light in the universe can be measured by tracking changes hydrogen. THINKSTOCK images.
The total amount of light in the universe can be measured by tracking changes hydrogen. THINKSTOCK images.

Sarah Knapton

Astrophysicists are mystified after finding 80pc of the light in the universe appears to be missing.

The total amount of light in the universe can be measured by tracking changes in hydrogen after exposure to ultraviolet light. The hydrogen becomes ionised and can be seen on telescopes.

A study in Astrophysical Journal Letters claims that the amount of ionised hydrogen suggests there is far more ultraviolet light in the universe than can be accounted for – five times too much. The light could be coming from an "exotic new source", scientists suggest.

Juna Kollmeier, the lead author of the study, from the Carnegie Institution for Science in America, said: "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. Where is all that light coming from?"

The mismatch appears only in the nearby, relatively well-studied cosmos. When telescopes focus on galaxies billions of light-years away, everything adds up. (©The Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

Editors Choice

Also in World News