Olbers' paradox

[ ohl-berz ]
/ ˈoʊl bərz /

noun Astronomy.

the paradox that if the universe consisted of an infinite number of stars equally distributed through space, then every line of sight would come from a star and the night sky would glow uniformly, which is observationally not true.

Origin of Olbers' paradox

First recorded in 1950–55; after H.W.M. Olbers

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Word Origin and History for olbers' paradox

Olbers' paradox

"if stars are uniformly distributed through the sky, their number should counterbalance their faintness and the night sky should be as bright as the day;" named for German astronomer H.W.M. Olbers (1758-1840), who propounded it in 1826.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper