A Conversation for Olbers' Paradox

Inverse square law

Post 1

clzoomer- a bit woobly

I know very little about cosmology but a fair bit about light (I am a video director of photography). The inverse square law states that the amount of light received from a source decreases inversely proportionally to distance. That is to say that the light falling on one square foot of surface area one foot away from a candle is one foot-candle but that same light two feet away covers four square feet with the same light therefore is 1/4 as strong (1/4 footcandle). Even given a non-fractal view of the universe the disipation of light would be obvious, or am I missing the big picture here?

Inverse square law

Post 2

Researcher 188844

Yes, that's correct. Plus, the stars are emitting light in all directions. Only a small fraction of the light that is emitted from each star is emitted in just the right direction to hit Earth. I think, though, that if you assume that the number of stars sending light our way is infinite, it doesn't matter. A small fraction of infinity is still infinity.

Inverse square law

Post 3

Martin Harper

It's more that the universe is 3D: so if you go twice as far out, each star will be four times less bright, but there will be *eight* times more stars. And so on.

Inverse square law

Post 4


Totally wrong! The universe doesn't work that way. Stars only occur in galaxies or star clusters. Not only do stars cluster, so do galaxies and our own Milky Way galaxy is one of about 30 in what is called the local group. Some galaxy clusters contain more than a thousand galaxies. See my entry @ A761465

Alji, smiley - zensmiley - wizard of the Red Dragon (Swynwr y Ddraig Goch) (conducting a sun sign poll @ A712595)smiley - surfer(Member of The H2G2 Guild of Wizards @ U197895 looking for wiz kids to join, though you don't have to be a wiz kid just know a bit about some subject that you think will be of interest to others or just bore the pants off them. This is an equal opportunities space open to all sexes, ages and abilities)

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Inverse square law

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