What’s the colour of the universe?
If you want to make a cosmic latte from scratch, you must first invent the universe. No, seriously—“cosmic latte” is actually the average colour assigned to the universe. Astronomers once thought it was an intriguing pale turquoise, but it’s really just an ordinary-looking beige. This colour was first mentioned in the footnote of a paper on star formation, written by two astronomers at Johns Hopkins University who determined the colour just for kicks. They took the light of 200,000 galaxies, processed it and broke it into colours like a prism separates light into the colours of the rainbow, then averaged them all out—and came up with a colour that, if the human eye could see it, would be beige. Interestingly, the colour has become a lot less blue over the past 10 billion years, indicating that the young universe was dominated by newborn blue stars, but is gradually becoming dominated by older, redder stars. In a contest to name the colour something more interesting than beige, notable entries included “skyvory” and “univeige”, but the winner was, of course, “cosmic latte”.