Astrophysicists estimate that our universe formed about 13.7 billion years ago, with the first stars forming when the universe was just a few hundred million years old. By peering back at the earliest days of stellar creation, scientists in South Carolina have measured all of the starlight ever produced throughout the entire history of the observable universe.

Scientists have been working to obtain this measure, also known as extragalactic background light (EBL) or “cosmic fog,” for a long time.

“The EBL represents the book reporting the story of stellar activity and galaxy evolution within the universe,” Marco Ajello, lead researcher and astrophysicist at Clemson College of Science in South Carolina, said in an email.

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