Research Reveals Universe Has 20 More Time Galaxies Than Known

October 15
6:00 AM 2016

Recent research by the University of Edinburgh and Leiden University in Netherlands reveals that there are 20 more galaxies that ever taught. The observable Universe contains about two trillion galaxies which is more that ten times as it was estimated before.

Since the mid 1990's, the work estimate for the number of galaxies in the Universe had been about 120 billion and it was based on a 1996 study called the Hubble Deep Field.

For two decades, astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Deep Field Images to try to estimate the number of galaxies in the observable universe. The previous estimate was 100 to 200 billion, and now we believe that huge number was too small by a factor of 10 or 20, depending on where your original estimate falls.

It is no easy task to count the galaxies in the entire universe. For one thing, as previously mentioned, we cannot see the vast majority of galaxies with our telescopes because they are too far or too faint or both. For another, the farther away we peer with the HST, the smaller the area of the sky we are observing is-Hubble Deep Field images cover about one millionth of the total area of the sky. This animation shows just how small an area a Deep Field image covers.

Professor Conselice together with the researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Leiden University in Netherlands used Wilkinson's work and data from telescopes around the world and particularly the Hubble for him to create 3D maps of the different parts of the universe.

The sheer difference in the number of galaxies has far-reaching implications as well. Probabilistic equations that estimate the number of hypothetical alien civilizations, such as the Drake Equation, will need to be modified to account for the dramatic increase in the number of estimated galaxies out there-which makes it even more astronomically unlikely that we are alone among intelligent species.

In the face of such an expansive universe, it is easy to feel both awe and a sense of insignificance here on Earth. It is reminiscent of Carl Sagan's thoughts on the Pale Blue Dot image a photo taken of Earth by Voyager 1 from a distance of 6 billion kilometers, almost as far as Pluto.

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