Briefly Noted

Things Read, Seen or Heard

For all its unknowns, the glorious constant of space is its surprises. For instance, when astronomers discovered what color it is.

Back in the early aughts, two astronomers color-sampled 200,000 galaxies and discovered that the epic majesty that is space averages out to… beige.

Specifically, #fff8e7 on your HEX color picker.

Cosmic Latte
Inspired? This is the color of space.

As Wired explained at the time, “To find this average color, Glazebrook and Baldry gathered light from galaxies out to several billion light years. They processed the light to break it into the various colors similar to how a prism turns sunlight into a rainbow. They averaged the color values for all the light and converted it to the primary color scale seen by the human eye.”

The beige eventually got a name that sounds like something to order from a new age cafe: Cosmic Latte.

The actual study that lead to the discovery was an attempt by Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry to explore the history of star formation. By looking at light values emitting from the cosmos, the two could infer the age of stars in different galaxies. Basically, old stars and young stars emit and absorb elements at different rates. This is then reflected in the corresponding light spectrum surrounding them.

Here’s how the two illustrate it in a brief write-up.

The cosmic spectrum shows what elements are emitted or absorbed.
Oxygen, Hydrogen, Sodium and Sulphur all have different lightprints.

More Notes

“We underestimate the stupid, and we do so at our own peril.”

Read More »

Ghost’s canine bots are the scary older brother of every other dog robot you’ve ever seen, and a good reminder that we’re getting increasingly efficient at finding ways to kill ourselves.

Read More »

“This virus has humbled me as a professional and a person,” said Michelle Odden, associate professor of epidemiology at Stanford. “I did not think this level of failure in a federal response was possible in the United States.”

Read More »

A technical glitch on a Chinese video streaming platform reveals a young, popular vlogger is actually a much older woman.

Read More »

An architect creates a seesaw at the US-Mexico border to show what happens on one side affects what happens on the other… Oh, and kids have fun.

Read More »

A spacecraft not much bigger than a loaf of bread is demonstrating that sailing the cosmos is a possibility.

Read More »

A letter sent fifty years ago from Charles Schulz to a ten-year-old boy shows how much hasn’t changed in American society and politics.

Read More »

A brain implant that transmits video directory to the visual cortex is allowing some formerly blind patients to see.

Read More »

As Los Angeles its green future, here’s a look at the light rail system it had over a 100 years ago.

Read More »

And now for something beautiful: the International Space Station crosses the sun.

Read More »

Welcome to the current state of deepfake videos where you could ask yourself how much more screwed could we be? And the answer would be, none, none more screwed.

Read More »

Those food shots you see on Instagram aren’t about eating what’s in the photo. Instead, they showcase the privilege of being somewhere where such food exists to begin with.

Read More »