NASA Spacecraft Finds Mysterious Light With No Obvious Source Coming From Beyond Our Galaxy

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 05 Dec 2020 17:08
NASA Spacecraft Finds Mysterious Light With No Obvious Source Coming From Beyond Our GalaxyPA Images

If this year hadn’t be strange enough already, NASA has now found a mysterious light in outer space that its struggling to explain.

Astronomers were looking for fields of view without stars or galaxies in the hopes of being able to measure space’s darkness using the New Horizons space probe.


Apparently New Horizons was first built for the purpose of exploring Pluto, but after flying past the dwarf planet five years ago, it just kept going, and going.

PA Images

It’s now thought to be around four billion miles away from home, reported NPR, meaning it’s extremely far away from any sources of light and making it ideal for research into outer space’s true darkness.

But, in the attempt of work out how dark space really is, NASA came across the mysterious light through the space probe which captured photos of it in the distance.


Astronomer Tod Lauer, with the National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab), looked in to the images that the New Horizons had taken.


Discussing the unprecedented light, Lauer explained:

What we found when we were done is a little bit more light than we thought was there or should be there. There is a very faint glow, very faint, but it’s more than we can explain from known sources, so it’s a little component of the universe that we’ve uncovered.


According to CBC, Lauer and his colleagues eliminated all sources of light that it could possibly be – such as scattered light from the Milky Way – leaving them stumped as to what the answer is. The findings has also left astronomers realising that outer space isn’t as dark as they expected it to be.

According to Marc Postman, an astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the amount of light coming from unexplained sources in outer space is ‘equal to all the light coming in from the known galaxies’, reported NPR.

Mysterious Galaxy Known As Kraken Crashed Into The Milky Way 11 Billion Years AgoPA Images

Meanwhile, Michael Zemcov, an astrophysicist at Rochester Institute of Technology, describes the new information as ‘a bitter pill to swallow’. He explained, ‘It’s very difficult to turn around and say to the astronomical community, like, ‘Hey, guys, we’re missing half of the stuff out there.”


While it’s evidently hard information to grasp, Zemcov doesn’t question the validity of the recent discovery and described it as ‘really solid’.

Just goes to show how much more there is to learn about space.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Science, Astronomy, NASA, Now


NPR and 1 other
  1. NPR

    Scientists Discover Outer Space Isn't Pitch-Black After All

  2. CBC

    Pluto probe finds mysterious night light in the universe