Our universe is quite dark, but at the same time brighter than amed. At least that’s the conclusion of a group of researchers who analyzed data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. It is, after all, farther from the sun than almost any other terrestrial instrument. At a distance of well over seven billion kilometers from our home star, their night sky is measurably dimmer than anything we or probes in the inner solar system get to see, researchers explain. Volumes conducted in this environment had now revealed that it is, however, somewhat brighter there than thought. The origin of this light is still unknown.
New Horizons researches and researches
New Horizons was launched in 2006 and on July 14. July 2015 as the first probe ever to pass the dwarf planet Pluto. It had contained a surprisingly complex world. Then again, two years ago, it became the first man-made object to reach a celestial body in the even more distant Kuiper Belt – Arrokoth with its snowman shape. It hasn’t had a new target since, but most recently it had helped astronomers make the grossest parallaxmeng in history. At the same time, however, its instruments continue to function and it provides valuable data for exploring the frontier of the solar system.
Such a long way from the sun, its effects are actually much smaller, researchers now explain. For example, it is about ten times darker around New Horizons than in the darkest places that the Hubble Space Telescope can focus on in Earth orbit. But how bright it is exactly at New Horizons, they have determined with the help of the so-called LORRI cameras on board. After subtracting known light sources such as the Milky Way and known reflection sources, they found that more light remained than expected. The scientists, who presented their analysis at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, do not know the origin of the light.
"Only" hundreds of billions of galaxies
It is possible that a rough number of dwarf galaxies in the neighborhood of the Milky Way exist just below detectability. Also, the halos around galaxies could be brighter than previously thought. It is also possible that there are many more unbound stars in intergalactic space than current theories predict.
Pluto probe New Horizons