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why is space dark if the sun shines

Four science conversations worth having this Thanksgiving. Medical Xpress covers all medical research advances and health news, Tech Xplore covers the latest engineering, electronics and technology advances, Science X Network offers the most comprehensive sci-tech news coverage on the web. You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details to third parties. Save 52% when you subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine. So, shouldn't the entire sky be as bright as a star, since there's a star in every possible minute direction you could ever look in? Here let me give you a little coaching, you'll start your conversation at the party with "So, the other day, I was contemplating Olbers' Paradox… Oh what's that? But if you could see the Universe with microwave detecting eyes, you'd see this: brightness in every direction. You can unsubscribe at any time. It could be a couple of these, but not all three. If you looked at the Sun, it would be bright and your retinas would crisp up. Pay by Direct Debit and get 52% off an annual subscription*, Receive every issue delivered direct to your door with FREE UK delivery. By Gideon Lichfield. He likes maths, West End musicals and hamsters. That's why the sky looks black in outer space. Clearly, there’s something wrong with the simple calculation, and a big clue about what it is came in the 1920s when astronomers discovered that the Universe is expanding after exploding from a Big Bang billions of years ago. Well, not exactly. Light shines out from the Sun in straight lines. A finite universe—that is, a universe of limited size—even one with trillions and trillions of stars, just wouldn't have enough stars to light up all of space. Space is dark because there's nothing there. More Space. If you've ever asked yourself this question, you probably won't be surprised to know you're not the first. Listen to some of the brightest names in science and technology talk about the ideas and breakthroughs shaping our world. They all have one thing in common: Beyond the lights of their spacecrafts, and aside from the faint needlepoint glow of distant stars, space is oil-slick dark. Isaiah 13:10 - For the stars of heaven and their constellationsWill not flash forth their light;The sun will be dark when it risesAnd the moon will not shed its light. For more information about how to do this, and how Immediate Media Company Limited (publisher of Science Focus) holds your personal information, please see our privacy policy. Save 52% when you subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine. This is one of those ‘silly’ questions, which has an answer that’s anything but. It’s perplexed many astronomers since the time of Sir Edmond Halley, of comet fame, in the 17th century. Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. If you look in every direction, you're seeing a spot as bright as a star, it's just that the expansion of the Universe stretched out the wavelengths so that the light is invisible to our eyes. Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts. We do not guarantee individual replies due to extremely high volume of correspondence. This document is subject to copyright. Dumb stars everywhere wrecking the view. Boiling into space. July 24, 2019 This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, and provide content from third parties. The stars shine, the planets glow (because light is bouncing off them), gas clouds have light passing through them, that's why they are visible. Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors. Even Star Wars . By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy We now call this Olbers' Paradox after him. Not only do we have this incomprehensibly massive size of our Universe, but the scale of time we're talking about when we do these thought experiments is absolutely boggling. A few hundred thousand years after the Big Bang, when the first light was able to leap out into space, everything, in every direction was as bright as the surface of a star. In space, because there is nothing to scatter or reflect the light, it is black. So by proposing this paradox, Olbers knew the Universe couldn't be infinite, static and timeless. You can be assured our editors closely monitor every feedback sent and will take appropriate actions. Why is space so cold if the sun is so hot? Something is visible, only because the light has been reflected from it, or scattered through it (hence, the sky seems blue because the blue light has been scattered by the air molecules). Latest. This led to the theory of the Big Bang, that the Universe was once gathered into a single point in time and space, and then, expanded rapidly. We live in a universe of extremes. Although the idea of a finite universe explains why Earth's sky is dark at night, other causes work to make it even darker. Our experiences tell us this isn't the case. July 24, 2019. Why is space so cold if the sun is so hot? And so, PARADOX SOLVED! November 12, 2017 This article is more than 2 years old. Our daily newsletter arrives just in time for lunch, offering up the day's biggest science news, our latest features, amazing Q&As and insightful interviews. In fact, galaxies are speeding away from us in all directions like we have the cooties. Thank you for taking your time to send in your valued opinion to Science X editors. This question was famously asked by the German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers who described it in 1823. Our Universe has proven to not be static or timeless. The result is a Universe as black as pitch. So, PARADOX SOLVED! Also, at this point you can tell people you were wondering about it and they'll never know you just watched it here and then you can sound wicked smart and impress all those dudes. It's stars all the way down, people. Space looks dark, because it is mostly a near-perfect vacuum. Already have an account with us? We don't see stars in every direction because many of the stars haven't been around long enough for their light to get to us. As the Universe expanded, the wavelengths of that initial visible light were stretched out and out and dragged to the wide end of the electromagnetic spectrum until they became microwaves. Looking up into the night sky, one has to wonder why the Universe is primarily black. So if you look at the Sun lots of light arrives in your eye and the Sun appears bright. So if you are in space and look at the daylight side of the Earth it will appear moderately bright. Your email address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the email. Which I hope tickles your brain in the way it does mine. Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose. We live in a universe of extremes. Stars would litter everything. That’s because although starlight gets fainter with distance, a simple calculation shows the fading is cancelled out by the ever-increasing numbers of stars with distance, and should therefore leave space ablaze with light. Melting ice patch in Norway reveals large collection of ancient arrows, A phononic crystal coupled to a transmission line via an artificial atom, New transient ultraluminous X-ray source detected in the galaxy NGC 7090, X-ray diffraction reveals details inside mummies without having to open them up, Physicist creates N95-type respirators using cotton candy machine, Solar Activity and Space Weather Update thread. By clicking “sign up” you are agreeing to our terms and conditions and privacy policy. If you’re not a morning person, then you’d probably love living on the moon or out in space! Shortly after the Big Bang, the entire Universe was hot and dense, like the core of a star. Question about things moving through outer space, Science X Daily and the Weekly Email Newsletter are free features that allow you to receive your favorite sci-tech news updates in your email inbox.

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