A: Would there be enough light in interstellar space to see your surroundings?

2년 전

whatyouactuallysee.jpg
Image Credit: STSci/NASA

If we were floating around in intergalactic space there would be virtual no illumination and the sky would appear completely dark. With the naked eye, you may be able to distinguish 2 or 3 faint patches of light interrupting the blandness of the sky (these would be nearby large galaxies). Keep in mind from that from earth's vantage point in the "Local Group" of galaxies only 3 galaxies external to our own milky way can be seen with the naked eye. It would be quite an unnerving experience IMO to be floating around in intergalactic space!

Interstellar space is a bit more interesting. As a fun exercise I integrated the brightness of all the stars in the Tycho-2 star catalog (2.5 million stars) and derived a brightness that was equivalent to a thin crescent moon. This is still very little ambient light, and I doubt you could see anything more than silhouette's of objects against the sky background.

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So this is quite different than what is portrayed in sci-fi movies.

Interstellar space would be a bleak place to be in near obscurity and inter-galactic space would be downright frightening...

Like being in a pitch black room without walls, floating in the void...

What a nightmare. It's hard to comprehend from our tiny oasis lost in the universe.

Thanks!

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Yes sci-fi movies get it so wrong, but I guess it wouldn't make it much of cinematic experience for the viewers! On the flipside, objects like stars , black holes, etc at close range would appear much more dramatic at close range than shown in movies.

Thanks, this sounds scary!

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It was an interesting question, and it was a lot of fun researching some of the parameters (like integrating the total brightness of all the visible stars). Thank you 👍





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