back to article Mysterious galactic glow caused by Hitchhikers' Krikkit style stars

The mysterious background glow of the universe is probably caused by "orphan" stars leading an isolated existence wrapped in clouds of dark matter, according to a new analysis by top boffins reviewing data from NASA's Spitzer telescope far out in space. Scientists have long been puzzled by the levels of background infrared …


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  1. Marty

    the vastness of it all......

    I would place a bet that in the entire universe is so big and diverse that no matter what babbling a science fiction writer comes up with, if you point a telescope in the right direction you will find an example of it in reality !!!

    now to get back to the long dark teatime of the soul!!

    1. Harvey Trowell
      Thumb Up

      Re: the vastness of it all......

      I'll lay that bet all day long. It's similar to the infinite monkeys/typewriters scenario, in that whilst you may be on solid ground statistically, the clock is ticking on yer three-score-and-ten and meanwhile I've got your pony in me satchel and it's trebles all round down the Dog and Duck...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed about this ...

    1. MrT

      Brain the size of a planet...

      ... SEP field detected! Call the MCC now!

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Against a Dark Background

    By Iain M. Banks features a star system with, you guessed it, a dark background.

    1. kyza

      Re: Against a Dark Background

      I might be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure that the Goltarian solar system is actually marooned between galaxies - it's anorphaned solar system.

      There is also a line of thinking that the whole of ...Dark Background is actually a Mind playing around in the Irreal...

  4. BorkedAgain

    I find the whole thing to be in remarkably poor taste.

  5. Pirate Dave


    So are these scientists saying that we can't see dark matter, but it is still opaque? Like, oh, I dunno, an invisibility shield?

    1. LaeMing

      That isn't my problem.

      It is somebody else's.

  6. Mike 68

    Has no-one said Dyson Spheres yet?

    After someone saying last week they were looking for them, doesn't this kind of tie in with that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shurely, these must be Dyson spheres out there!


  7. E 2


    The vaunted weakly interacting dark matter ought not interfere with EM radiation from these supposed stars, thus the model proposed for shrouded starts is either wrong, or the WIMP model of dark matter is wrong.

  8. Bucky 2

    Another "A Wrinkle in Time" reference

    Hold me; I'm scared.

  9. Ian Moffatt 1

    It'll have to go

    I'll get me coat

  10. Beau

    Dark Matter again?

    Dark Matter must be the most useful form of matter ever discovered!

    You can't detect it, measure it, or explain what in hell it might actually be.

    Yet every time anything unexplainable is detected anywhere in the universe, then it is the good old dark matter causing the observed effect.

    Dark Matter, the answer to everything that can't be explain, a sort of scientific universal God.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Dark Matter again?

      Oh, I see you have stumbled upon the definition of dark matter.

      "Dark matter" is a category that describes all manner of things. If you can observe the gravitational effects of something but cannot see the thing itself, by default it is "dark matter". If you eventually work out what it is, you give it a name, and it is no longer dark matter. Your idea that it's a sort of supernatural force is strange though.

      It's kind of like alternative medicine; once it's been shown to work, it's not "alternative" any more.

  11. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    "For a while...

    "... they flew on, motionless against the starry sweep of the Galaxy, itself motionless against the infinite sweep of the Universe. And then they turned round.

    ``It'll have to go,'' the men of Krikkit said"

  12. The Prevaricator

    re: Has no-one said Dyson Spheres yet?

    If I could up-vote you twice, I would.

    This makes far more sense to me than the dark matter proposal. If dark matter could shroud anything, then wouldn't we see its effects around our galactic neighbours too?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our lovely world's so lovely

    And everything’s so nice

    And everyone’s so happy

    Beneath the ink-black skies

  14. Jonski

    Come back Douglas

    We miss you.

    1. Jedit

      Re: Come back Douglas

      "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on the subject of zombies..."

      Also, as any fule kno Krikkit is not a H2G2 reference - it's a Doctor Who reference. Adams originally wrote the story for Who, later recycling it for H2G2 with Slartibartfast as the Doctor and the Starship Bistromath in place of the TARDIS. This is why the Wikkit Key plot bears a suspicious resemblance to the Key to Time arc of Who.

  15. Esskay

    Just send out a message

    I'm sure Hactar will get back to us shortly.

    < Beer is for washing down the peanuts - have to keep those sodium levels up.

  16. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Or maybe these are stars surrounded by a fleet of black Haggunenon battle cruisers (the ones with the black instrument panels, with black buttons which are labelled in black on a black background, and whenever you press one of them a little black lamp lights up black to show that you have done it), which blot out the light of the star.

    Either that or

    Dark Matter = Hactar

    1. Esskay

      I could be wrong...

      But I believe that was Hotblack Desiato's stuntship - the one where everything was black, and the (not-fully-functioning) teleporter appeared on the final invoice as "Sund. explns." at five times the price.

      "It's the wild colour scheme that freaks me," said Zaphod whose

      love affair with this ship had lasted almost three minutes into

      the flight, "Every time you try to operate on of these weird

      black controls that are labelled in black on a black background,

      a little black light lights up black to let you know you've done

      it. What is this? Some kind of galactic hyperhearse?"

      1. Gordon 8

        Re: I could be wrong...

        No need to be afraid, as you are (kind of) wrong.

        The original story (Radio 4) is of the fleet of black Haggunenon battle cruisers, but that was changed for the TV series. Not sure about the LP's, and my copy of the CD's is of the fleet of black Haggunenon battle cruisers....

        Mine's the one with ravenous blugblatter beast of Trall in the pocket.

      2. Crisp

        Re: "Sund. explns."

        Has anyone ever managed to sneak this on to an invoice?

  17. mhenriday
    Big Brother

    I can't but be bemused by the fact that Lewis

    seems to have no difficulty accepting current science on matters like, e g, «near-infrared background anisotropies from diffuse intrahalo light of galaxies», while he knows, in his heart of hearts, that current climatological science is not merely wrong, but indeed, a vast conspiracy, designed to defraud the innocent and cast us all back to the Dark Ages. I shall here abstain from speculating on what can lie behind this amazing discrepancy....


  18. Gordon 8


    I bet The Reg team were out checking out small Italian Bistros for Bistromathic drives over the weekend! Did they have to examine each others pieces of Chicken?

    Have they managed to get the expenses claims in? Did Lester turn up?

    I'll get my coat, mine's the one with the packet of potato chips in the pocket.

  19. sumpvesen

    My IQ test came back negative.....

    What I cant understand is how is it possible for galaxies to be colliding with each other while at the same time the universe is expanding. Doesn't that mean that all the stuff is moving away from other stuff?

    Another thing, 13.75 billion years old doesn't seem to be such a big number to me any more. Not with numbers in the trillions for the US deficit. So the universe must be much older.

    As for all the dark matter in my head - I'm sorry that some of it leaked out into the universe....

    Now to find an elevator that can tell me how many more days I will have to use my generator after Sandy's visit

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