Repainting the cosmic palette

9:25pm, March 26, 2002

After all the hue and cry about the color of the universe, astronomers have now revised their findings. It's not pale green but boring old beige.

In a whimsical calculation that received wide publicity last January, Karl Glazebrook and Ivan K. Baldry of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore estimated the average color of the cosmos: the hue that the human eye would perceive if all the light from nearby galaxies was blended into a single point of light (SN: 1/26/02, p. 62: Seeing green: Color of the cosmos).

The astronomers base both their original and revised calculations on the colors of some 200,000 galaxies recorded in the largest galaxy survey completed to date. The number and distribution of galaxies in the mammoth survey, based in Australia and known as 2dF or 2-degree field, provide a representative sample of the local universe, Glazebrook and Baldry note.

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