The universe may be full of reclusive stars — not washed-up Hollywood stars, but the kind lurking deep in the cosmos.

Scientists reported Thursday that as many as half of all stars may lie outside galaxies.

Individually, these lonesome stars are too faint to detect. But together, they create a hazy background of fluctuating near-infrared light. A team of astronomers from the U.S., Japan and Korea say the diffuse glow appears to be from stars booted out of their galaxies by mergers and collisions.

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