APR 07, 2020 4:13 PM PDT

Here's The Reason Why Space is Black

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Anyone who can tilt their head up enough to glance at the night sky would be able to tell you that outer space looks black. Images captured by space telescopes and even by astronauts working on the International Space Station only corroborate this fact. But have you ever pondered about why outer space appears black?

Perhaps the most common answer to this seemingly simple question is that there’s a lack of light. Long exposure images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, however, reveal that this isn’t the case at all. In fact, there are so many light-emanating stars residing in countless galaxies as far as the best telescopes can see, and with all these sources of light existing in every crevice of outer space, lack of light couldn’t possibly be the answer… right?

Well… yes and no. But the true answer is a bit more complicated than that.

Firstly, it should be noted that the universe is finite, and this means that the number of stars in outer space is limited despite how plentiful they appear in images. The fact remains, however, that the universe is vast and that extensive distances exist between said stars. This distance impacts the intensity of the light emanating from stars and makes them appear dimmer as a result.

To make matters worse, light originating from the universe’s furthest galaxies struggles to reach Earth because of a phenomenon called redshift. As light from the most distant galaxies attempts to reach us, some of it eventually arrives in the form of infrared light, which the human eye can’t really see. The lack of visibility in this situation masks some of the light that would otherwise make the universe appear brighter than it does.

If the universe were actually infinite, then outer space wouldn’t appear black, but instead filled with light from an unlimited number of stars. An interesting concept to try to grasp, indeed.

Related: Can Viruses Like COVID-19 Survive in Outer Space?

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 16, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Revealing the Origins of Jupiter's Spectacular Auroras
MAR 16, 2021
Revealing the Origins of Jupiter's Spectacular Auroras
Many years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to catch a glimpse of amazing auroras that occur on Jupiter. Now res ...
APR 21, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Earth-like Planet Discovered Orbiting Red Dwarf Star
APR 21, 2021
Earth-like Planet Discovered Orbiting Red Dwarf Star
Researchers from Spain have discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting the star, GJ-740, a red dwarf star located 36 light ...
JUL 22, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Telescope Riding a Balloon Could Replace Hubble
JUL 22, 2021
Telescope Riding a Balloon Could Replace Hubble
The Earth's atmosphere often muffles views from ground-based telescopes when observing space. Now, a research c ...
AUG 18, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Size of Black Holes Depends on their Feeding Patterns
AUG 18, 2021
The Size of Black Holes Depends on their Feeding Patterns
The feeding patterns of black holes are directly correlated to their size. The corresponding study was published in  ...
AUG 19, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Observe the Birth of New Solar Systems
AUG 19, 2021
Researchers Observe the Birth of New Solar Systems
Astronomers are gaining new insights on how our solar system was born from observations of a nearby star-forming region ...
SEP 06, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is Ready for Space!
SEP 06, 2021
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is Ready for Space!
With a long set of rigorous tests behind it, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), NASA’s next major space telesc ...
Loading Comments...