What is Olbers' Paradox?

Named after German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers, Olbers' paradox is sometimes known more descriptively (but less attributively) as the dark night* sky paradox.

The paradox itself goes something like this:
Light travels. The universe is infinite. There's an infinite amount of stuff (i.e. stars) in the universe.
If we travelled in any given direction, then, we should, eventually, get to a star. Turn that around, and we should be receiving light from a star from any direction you might want to look in.
So why is the night sky mostly dark, rather than completely awash with light?
Over to you**.


* It's nothing to do with Batman.
** Please don't comment if you already know a solution or solutions to this paradox: that's no fun and spoils it for everyone else.

Comments

  1. this is dumb. light is too slow to reach us from any given direction at one point in time.

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    1. Surely, Anonymous, if we lived in an infinite universe (that's infinite in time and in space) then it wouldn't matter how slow light was?

      I've never before heard an observation upon which much of today's understanding of the universe we live in was built referred to as 'dumb' before.

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