​Half of the stars in our universe live in the space between galaxies

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Sean Buckley
November 7, 2014 11:41 PM
In this article: galaxies, space, stars
​Half of the stars in our universe live in the space between galaxies

Hubble's deep field imagery is breathtaking, but what lies between those thousands of spiral-arm galaxies? More stars, of course. Data collected by CIBER rockets (Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRiment)show that as many as half of the stars in the universe are orphans -- suns that spun out of their home galaxies in the wake of celestial events that tore universe in twain. These stars live in the dark space between galaxies, bathing the universe in the dim "intra-halo" light that the CIBER rockets picked up.

Although the light from these stars is readable using modern instruments, they are extraordinarily distant. "The night sky on a planet around such a star would be profoundly boring and black to human eyes," explains Caltech experimental astrophysicist Michael Zemcov. "No other stars, or at least very few, no Milky Way band, only distant galaxies." It may not be the brightest area of the universe, but it's good to know that the space between galaxies is more than an empty void.

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