Gal­axy count may now top 2 tril­lion across uni­verse

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

CAPE CANAVERAL: Thought the uni­verse was crowded with 100 bil­lion to 200 bil­lion gal­ax­ies? Try 1 tril­lion or even 2 tril­lion gal­ax­ies and more. That’s the lat­est cen­sus, re­ported Thurs­day. An as­tro­physics pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Not­ting­ham in Eng­land led the in­ter­na­tional team that came up with the mind-bog­gling es­ti­mate of 2 tril­lion gal­ax­ies in the uni­verse. Pro­fes­sor Christo­pher Con­selice said that rep­re­sents a min­i­mum ten­fold in­crease. In a phone in­ter­view, Con­selice said he was sur­prised by the re­sults. He an­tic­i­pated two or three times more gal­ax­ies, per­haps, but “10 is quite high” and it could prove to be even greater.

The sci­en­tists based their gal­axy head count on deep-space sur­veys al­ready con­ducted by the Hub­ble Space Te­le­scope and ground ob­ser­va­to­ries. They turned the im­ages into 3-D and used new math­e­mat­i­cal mod­els for the up­date. “It bog­gles the mind that over 90 per­cent of the gal­ax­ies in the uni­verse have yet to be stud­ied,” Con­selice said in a state­ment. “Who knows what in­ter­est­ing prop­er­ties we will find when we dis­cover these gal­ax­ies with fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of tele­scopes?” Even sci­en­tists have trou­ble wrap­ping their minds around such huge num­bers. Ac­cord­ing to Con­selice, 2 tril­lion is roughly equiv­a­lent to the num­ber of sec­onds in 1,000 av­er­age life­times. The find­ings are be­ing re­ported in Astro­phys­i­cal Jour­nal. — AP

This im­age made avail­able by NASA, ESA/Hub­ble on Thurs­day, Oct 13, 2016 shows a por­tion of the south­ern field of the Great Ob­ser­va­to­ries Ori­gins Deep Sur­vey to re­cal­cu­late the to­tal num­ber of gal­ax­ies in the ob­serv­able uni­verse. —AP

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