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Space & Astronomy

Has your suntan come from another galaxy ?

By T.K. Randall
August 13, 2016 · Comment icon 7 comments

Where do the photons originate ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
A new study has shown that Luke Skywalker is not the only thing to have come from a galaxy far, far away.
Astronomers in Australia have determined that the photons responsible for giving you a suntan do not all come from our own sun. A tiny fraction of them - ten-trillionths of the total number - actually originate from distant galaxies and black holes situated far beyond the Milky Way.

"Most of the photons of light hitting us originate from the Sun, whether directly, scattered by the sky, or reflected off dust in the Solar System," said lead author Professor Simon Driver.
"However, we're also bathed in radiation from beyond our galaxy, called the extra-galactic background light. These photons are minted in the cores of stars in distant galaxies, and from matter as it spirals into supermassive black holes."

While you can be safe in the knowledge that bathing in these intergalactic photons isn't likely to give you an intergalactic sunburn ( unless you sunbathe for several trillion years anyway ), the study does still highlight the need to use sunscreen when out on a hot day as our own sun will still be bombarding you with more than one sextillion photons per second.

That's enough to cause some pretty serious sunburn within a relatively short space of time.

Source: The Register | Comments (7)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by fred_mc 6 years ago
Why are they only talking about light from the sun or from other galaxies, why not light from other stars in our own galaxy?
Comment icon #2 Posted by Habitat 6 years ago
I sunburn easily and even a risk of shade-stroke !
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
So we need extrasolar block.
Comment icon #4 Posted by MWoo7 6 years ago
Agree ... partial prev. post: font color=RED"maybe more oxygen and bit less electromagnetic radiation pounding at us, I recently seen some ? I think it was ultra-violet or such pictures on peoples faces, likely a promo for give me give me $$$$$$$$$ but it was interesting/enlightening.  My two bits!*_*! bye-bye-now "/font screwit .... can't find that article , suns rays , radiation pounding us and less oxygen and a lab with results regarding that had animals/insects? or such live a lot longer with more oxygen like in the past.  Oh wellzz just thoughts.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Zalmoxis 6 years ago
So, if I had a time machine and was able to experience trillions of years of starlight in minutes I could conceivably get a "intergallactic star-tan". Awesome. But what are the odds of traveling trillions of years in time within the space of minutes? Our universe is only 14 billion years old.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Codenwarra 6 years ago
I have a workshop tan.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Habitat 6 years ago
I'd say welding flash causes more sunburn (other than our sun) than the stars.

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