Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Half of the Universe's Stars are Hidden in Dark Spaces Between Galaxies

Rocket launch

(Photo : NASA/T. Arai/University of Tokyo) The Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment (CIBER) rocket launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in 2013.

CalTech (California Institute of Technology) researchers have revealed there's more cosmic light from the universe than that emitted by known galaxies based on an experiment aboard one of NASA's suborbital rockets.

Researchers believe there are star systems in the spaces among galaxies that appear dark in radars. Those dark spaces, however, can actually contain faint light from weaker stars. These weak stars were violently ejected from their home galaxies and hurled into the outskirts of space.

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Researchers also estimate that almost half the stars in the universe are "orphan" stars that don't belong to any galaxy. This orphaning process might have occurred when two galaxies collide. When the merging occurs, these weaker stars are thrown out into the cosmos and billions of stars have been this way ever since.

Harvey Moseley, a NASA astrophysicist, said if this theory is proven correct, there might be an entire population of stars that are just out there waiting to be discovered. Since each individual star is so faint, however, scientists can only observe them in clusters.

This faint background light was picked up by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The Caltech team later sent the CIBER (Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRiment) up in space to further observe these weak stars closer.

Earlier theories suggest these light signals are remnants from early galaxies formed during the Big Bang. Using a highly sensitive light meter via infrared, CIBER acquired readings from light emanating from the universe.

This study will be published on November 7 in the journal, Science.

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