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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Missing Light in the Universe

For John, BLUFOne suspects there is a lot we don't know about science, but think we do.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From that font of knowledge for those interested in science but without the time to read the scientific journals, there is a Popular Mechanics article about missing light in the universe.  The article is "PM/AM: The Universe is Missing Light—A Lot of It" and the authors are Ms Kathryn Free and Mr Darren Orf

Because nothing travels faster than the speed of light, and some light is missing, this article has taken from the 11th of July of this year to get to this blog post.

Here is the link to the Press Release from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Here is an extract from the Press Release:

Something is amiss in the universe.  There appears to be an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the cosmic budget.

Observations made by the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, a $70 million instrument designed by the University of Colorado Boulder and installed on the Hubble Space Telescope, have revealed that the universe is “missing” a large amount of light.

“It’s as if you’re in a big, brightly lit room, but you look around and see only a few 40-watt lightbulbs,” said the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Juna Kollmeier, lead author of a new study on the missing light published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.  “Where is all that light coming from? It’s missing from our census.”

The research team—which includes Benjamin Oppenheimer and Charles Danforth of CU-Boulder’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy—analyzed the tendrils of hydrogen that bridge the vast reaches of empty space between galaxies.  When hydrogen atoms are struck by highly energetic ultraviolet light, they are transformed from electrically neutral atoms to charged ions.

The astronomers were surprised when they found far more hydrogen ions than could be explained with the known ultraviolet light in the universe, which comes primarily from quasars.  The difference is a stunning 400 percent.

Strangely, this mismatch only appears in the nearby, relatively well-studied cosmos.  When telescopes focus on galaxies billions of light years away—which shows astronomers what was happening when the universe was young—everything seems to add up.  The fact that the accounting of light needed to ionize hydrogen works in the early universe but falls apart locally has scientists puzzled.

Ah, yes, where is all that light?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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