Cosmic Latte: The Color of the Universe

The Milkey Way shown in the night sky above the mountains
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The world is still full of mysteries

About 20 years ago, when my sister was still about 10 years old, she asked me “Why do clothes look dark when wet? Water is colorless though.” I’m sure she was not genius and asked idly without thinking so much, but the question flustered me a lot. Now I know why I felt like that. It was exactly because of my arrogance and ignorance of youth (or my personal mental problem in my younger days?). Anyway, I was arrogantly surprised at that time to find that there are still things that I don’t know even among daily little events.

By the way, are you interested in the answer to the above question that my younger sister made? It’s because water is low in optical reflectance. It’s about half as much as that of glass. That may contrast with the impression you get from the sparkling surface of the seas and rivers, though.

The color of the universe is beige: Cosmic latte

Speaking of colors, what color do you think the universe is? Black? Colorless and transparent? The universe is always seen above the sky at night, but I guess it would not cross your mind. I had never thought about it as least. As some of you may have already known because the discovery made the news about 20 years ago. The color of the universe is said to be beige. To be more precise, it’s about the average color of the universe. New and hot stars look blue; old and cold stars red. If the colors of those stars are mixed and equalized, the color of the universe will look beige according to the news. The color was later named “Cosmic latte.” You can see how it looks by googling with the color name.

Cosmic latte may go well with our wooden furniture

The other day, I talked with the interior coordinator of our shop. I asked if there’s any rule to decide the wall and ceiling color of our shop. She answered “it’s basically a color between gray and beige. It’s a color called “greige” that seems to be popular in the interior design field. She added it wouldn’t interfere with the colors of wood used for our furniture. On hearing her explanation, I remembered the above trivial stories and idly thought to myself “Let’s call the interior color of our shop grayish cosmic latte, rather than greige.”

In a furniture shop, there's a long wooden table with eight chairs.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.


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