Cosmic wallpaper is a greener shade of pale

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The Independent Online

Stephen Hawking once speculated that we may one day know the mind of God. Astronomers yesterday came a shade closer by revealing God's colour scheme for the heavens.

A study of the light emitted by nearly 200,000 galaxies has found that the ethereal equivalent of magnolia turns out to be a slightly greener shade of pale turquoise.

The astronomers who discovered the colour call it "cosmic spectrum" because it represents the average shade for the light emitted within our neighbourhood of the universe.

Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry from Johns Hopkins University told the American Astronomical Association in Washington how they collected cosmic light wavelengths and computed the red-green-blue response of the human eye.

The end result is "the colour you would see if you were to view all the light in the universe together," Professor Glazebrook said.

"The colour is quite close to the standard shade 'pale turquoise' although it is a few per cent greener, the eye can easily tell. By eye the colour appears to lie between 'medium aquamarine' and 'pale turquoise'," he said.

The scientists surveyed 166,000 galaxies, using telescopes at the Anglo-Australian Observatory near Coonabarabran, eastern Australia.

One implication of the research is that as the universe ant its stars age the cosmic wallpaper will become greener.