Scientists: Space Is Color of Latte

Sat Jun 22, 2:24 AM ET

By ANGELA POTTER, Associated Press Writer

BALTIMORE (AP) - Good news for coffee lovers: Space, the final frontier, is the color of a latte. So say astronomers Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry at Johns Hopkins University.

In January, the two determined that the universe was a sprightly pale turquoise, then after discovering a glitch in their software in March, they realized that the average color was actually a milky brown.

Not knowing what to call it, besides beige, they solicited suggestions, prompting nearly 300 e-mails with ideas including Big Bang Beige, Cappuccino Cosmico, Galactic Gold and Infinite Sand.

The winner? Cosmic Latte.

Baldry, a postdoctoral fellow, said he and Glazebrook both love coffee, which factored into the decision. Cosmic Latte is also appropriate because it's close to "latteo," which "means Milky Way in Galileo's native Italian," the pair wrote on their Web site.

Glazebrook and Baldry discovered the milky coffee hue after gathering light from galaxies as far as several billion light years away. They processed the light, breaking it into its various colors similar to the way a prism turns sunlight into a rainbow and averaging the color values.

Reaction to the name was mixed among coffee drinkers.

"You've got to be kidding," said Steve Gibbons, a 24-year-old law clerk, while buying a large black coffee. "I think that's a sign that Starbucks will take over the universe. That means the end is near."

"That is too awesome," said Michael Egerton, manager of PJ's Coffee & Tea Co. in Baltimore. "That is coffee-rific. Definitely a huge victory for coffee lovers."

Coffee-drinker Greg Pollard, 26, was bemused.

"There's new meaning to the Milky Way," the consultant said while gulping a double latte between drags on a cigarette. "I see a whole slew of new marketing campaigns ... to justify $4 for a latte."