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
JAN 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 26, 2020
How Much Do You Know About the Planet Mercury?
Mercury is the solar system’s smallest planet, and it’s also the one residing closest to the Sun. But while ...
FEB 04, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 04, 2020
What Are NASA's 'Great Observatories?'
NASA recently retired its Spitzer Space Telescope, one of four specialized space-based observatories that together made ...
MAR 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 08, 2020
Mars 2020 Rover Will be Named 'Perseverance'
The Mars 2020 rover has been a popular topic of discussion over the past several years, but it has remained rather consp ...
MAR 23, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 23, 2020
Here's Why the Planets Orbit the Sun How They Do
All the solar system’s planets follow nearly the same plane and direction as they orbit the Sun, and this is somet ...
MAR 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 31, 2020
Can Viruses Survive in Outer Space?
Outer space is often depicted as a harsh environment. It’s effectively an airless vacuum, and anything residing th ...
APR 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 12, 2020
Three New Crew Members Arrive at the International Space Station
The International Space Station received three new crew members this past week following extensive pre-quarantine measur ...
Loading Comments...