Friday, November 15, 2013

The Olbers" Paradox: Why is the Night Sky Dark?

Even if have never heard of Olbers’ paradox, you might still be familiar with its basic premise. It basically asks the question, ‘why isn’t the entire night sky as bright as the sun?’ You might be a bit taken back as to why this question is even be considered by astronomers, but it isn’t unfounded. Since the universe could extend infinitely in all directions, there might be an infinite number of stars. This means that, no matter where we looked, every point in the sky should shine with light.

Ultimately, this is a serious question that may help answer more of the universe’s mysteries; however, this is by no means a modern question. As far back as 1610, individuals were considering this question. Kepler was one of the first to bring this question to light (get the pun), though it wasn’t until the 19th century that Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers popularized it as a paradox. There have been several proposed attempts to solve this mystery, and I’ll run through some of the major ones.

Discover why the sky is dark at:

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