Scientists have measured every bit of starlight ever produced in the entire lifetime of the universe.
The 13.7 billion year old universe existed in a state of absolute darkness and only began creating stars after several hundred million years.
Stars have been produced at an incredible rate since the first ones were thrust into existence sprung into existence in the formative years of the universe.
Astronomers have now managed to measure all of the starlight ever produced throughout the history of the observable universe.
They found the number of photons (particles of visible light) that escaped into space after being emitted by stars translates to 4×10 to the power of 84.
To put that another way, that’s four followed by 84 zeroes.
Astrophysicist Marco Ajello and his team at Clemson College of Science analysed data from Nasa’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to determine the history of star formation, using new methods of starlight measurement.
Starlight that reaches Earth, except from the sun and the Milky Way, is exceedingly dim – equivalent to a 60-watt light bulb viewed in complete darkness from about 2.5 miles away.
A team of researchers analysed almost nine years of data from gamma-ray signals stemming from 739 sources.
Blazars are galaxies containing supermassive black holes that are able to release narrow jets of energetic particles at nearly the speed of light.
These can be detected by telescopes on Earth irregardless of how away from us they are.