Our local star is very light of human standards – just watching it for a few seconds can make your vision difficult. It’s only an infinite part of the universe’s total brightness. How bright is that? Well, we finally have an answer to that. With the help of new measurement techniques, researchers have calculated almost all photos ever released in the universe. The final figure is 4 x 10 ^^, or a four sequence of 84 zeros. In short: it is very bright.
Measuring the universe’s brightness is not as easy as pointing a telescope upwards and counting photos. The light from local sources will interfere with any attempt to record the so-called Extragalactic Background Light. If you filtered out all the light from the earth, the sun and other stars in the Milky Way, the sky would only be as bright as a 60W bulb as soon as 2.5 miles away.
The team led by Clemson University astrophysicist Marco Ajello turned to a phenomenon called blazars instead. These objects are a special class of quasars, active galactic grains with black holes that sputter particles of particles. The only difference between a regular quasar and a blazar is that the latter is pointed to the earth. It turns out that it gives us a window of light emission in the universe that is far away.
By staring into these giant galactic particle accelerators, the team managed to gather data about the local environment around the power of energy. Researchers examined nine-year data from the Fermi Space Telescope, which records gamma radiation from remote sources such as blazars. The signal from blazars falls off as it plows through light on the way to the ground. Therefore, we can measure the brightness along the path of the signal just by knowing where the blazer is and its apparent intensity on earth.
According to the study, a collection of 739 blazars scanned by Fermi gives us a picture of almost all photons in the universe. The team managed to tabulate the light for 90 percent of the history of the universe. The data does not include light that sticks particles of dust or gas, which would be reflected in infrared heat. It’s about half of the energy in backlight, but the team compensated for it in the model.
Knowing the universe’s brightness is more than an interesting factoid. These data can help researchers understand star formation and evolution, as well as how the universe came to be in its current state. Further research can even fill in the oldest 10 percent of the universe’s light map.
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