There are a dizzying two trillion galaxies in the universe, up to 20 times more than previously believed, astronomers reported on Thursday. The surprising find, based on 3D modeling of images accumulated over 20 years by the Hubble Space Telescope, was printed in the Astronomical Journal.
But even in the age of modern astronomy, getting an accurate tally has proven difficult.
To begin with, there is simply part of the cosmos where light given off by things that are distant has had time to reach World. The rest is essentially beyond our reach. And even within this “observable universe”, current technology simply permits US to glimpse 10% of what's out there, according to the new findings.
“Who understands what fascinating properties we'll find when these galaxies are observed by us with the next generation of telescopes?” he said in a statement.
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Using deep space pictures from Hubble, his team and Conselice converted them into 3D to quantify how many galaxies at different times. The analysis reached back more than 13bn years – very near the time of the “Big Bang” believed to have given birth.
A galaxy is a system of millions or billions or stars, held together by gravitation, with planetary systems within them. Using mathematical models that are new, the astronomers were able to infer the variety of “ ” galaxies that are invisible beyond the reach of telescopes, resulting in the surprising realization the vast bulk are too dim and far away to be seen.
When the universe was only several billion years of age, there were ten times as many galaxies in certain volume of space than there are today, the findings indicate. This in turn suggests that “critical development must have occurred to reduce their amount through extensive merging of systems”.