Imagine Measuring All Starlight in the Universe Ever: They Did It

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Space is a big guy. However, scientists were able to measure all of the starlights that was ever produced in the observed universe. And we’re not only talking about the current starlight, but of those in the history of the universe, too. We’re seeing big numbers. The universe is full of light and the scientists made the most out of a technique to measure them.

How old is the universe?

As we all know, the universe made its appearance about 13.7billion years ago, and the stars started forming in the first hundred million years. There are about 2 trillion galaxies and a trillion-trillion stars in the universe.

The scientists behind this project used data given from Nasa’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in order to find out how many photons (those are particles of light) were produced (ever) by stars.

We deal with many zeros here

The number is also known as septenvigintillion. They have found a way to measure light that we cannot even see, which is actually hidden behind the cosmic fog. Now, imagine a number that has 84 zeros, and you have your answer. This is how many photons make all the starlight ever produced in the universe. The number of grains of sand on Earth is a number with 17 zeros and the number of water molecules is a number with 42 zeros.

Why was this study important?

This thing has never been done before, so basically we found out that there’s a lot of light there. Most of the light is gotten by the stars that live in the galaxies. And they allowed us to understand the stellar-evolution process and we also got hold of interesting facts about our universe.

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.