Space is about 10 times larger than astronomers previously believed, according to new research published Thursday.
Astronomers determined that data from the NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope showed that there are at least 10 times as many galaxies in the universe as previously thought. Scientists suspected that the universe contained about 100 billion galaxies, but now they say it likely contains about 1,000 billion galaxies.
Roughly 90 percent of these new galaxies can’t be viewed with current telescope technology, meaning that their existence is inferred by astronomer’s calculations.
“It boggles the mind that over 90% of the galaxies in the Universe have yet to be studied. Who knows what interesting properties we will find when we observe these galaxies with the next generation of telescopes,” Christopher Conselice, an astronomy professor from the University of Nottingham, said in a press statement. “This gives us a verification of the so-called top-down formation of structure in the Universe.”
The vast majority of these galaxies are invisible to the human eye and even to modern telescopes due to a combination of factors. The extreme distance of many stars causes them to be exceedingly dim and almost all of their light is absorbed by intergalactic dust and gases. Researchers looked 13 billion years into the past to analyze the data necessary to do the calculation.
Such a sharp spike increases the odds that technologically advanced alien civilizations exist. These odds were already incredibly high, according to another study published by astronomers in April.
Using the most recent discoveries of planets outside the solar system, researchers estimated that the odds of humanity being the only civilization in the universe are less than one chance in about “10 billion trillion.”
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