Refraction of light may be distorting our images of space

Here is what is called refraction in a glass of water. What we see through this glass is a distortion of what is actually there behind it. Refraction changes the appearance.
Is this glass half full or is it half refracted?

Could what we see in space be like this? What if what we are looking at in space is a refraction of light? And what if light from the sun is refracted at angles onto Earth? Can the refractive properties of space be efficiently calculated? More important, would it be distorting what alien life sees when it looks at us through their camera lens?

image copyright by JrPol (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

feature image by Vivek Shrivastava see other works by this artist at

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