Now We Know the Distance Between Stars

Measurement of cosmic 'fog' reveals it to be 4,150 light-years

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 1, 2012 5:28 PM CDT

(Newser) – Here's an astronomer's quote to try to wrap your head around, courtesy of PhysOrg: "The optical and ultraviolet light from stars continues to travel throughout the universe even after the stars cease to shine, and this creates a fossil radiation field we can explore using gamma rays from distant sources." How this exploration of cosmic "fog," or "extragalactic background light," might apply to real life: If you're in a bar and somebody bets that you don't know the average distance between stars, say 4,150 light-years and collect your money. The LA Times has more on how the new measurement came to be, thanks to NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

This 2007 photo supplied by NASA-ESA shows a Hubble Space Telescope image of a dense swarm of stars.   (AP Photo/NASA-ESA)
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