There are a dizzying two trillion galaxies in the Universe, up to twenty times more than previously thought, astronomers reported Thursday.
The surprising find, based on 3D modelling of images collected over 20 years by the Hubble Space Telescope, was published in the Astronomical Journal.
Scientists have puzzled over how many galaxies the cosmos harbours at least since US astronomer Edwin Hubble showed in 1924 that Andromeda, a neighbouring galaxy, was not part of our own Milky Way.
But even in the era of modern astronomy, getting an accurate tally has proven difficult.
To begin with, there is only part of the cosmos where light given off by distant objects has had time to reach Earth.
The rest is effectively beyond our reach.
And even within this “observable Universe,” current technology only allows us to glimpse ten percent of what is out there, according to the new findings.
“It boggles the mind that over 90 percent of the galaxies in the Universe have yet to be studied,” commented Christopher Conselice of the University of Nottingham, who led the study.
“Who knows what interesting properties we will find when we observe these galaxies with the next generation of telescopes,” he said in a statement.
Using deep space images from Hubble, Conselice and his team painstakingly converted them into 3D to measure the number of galaxies at different times in the history of the Universe.
The analysis reached back more than 13 billion years — very near the time of the “Big Bang” thought to have given birth to the Universe.
A galaxy is a system of millions or billions or stars, held together by gravity, with planetary systems within them.
Using new mathematical models, the astronomers were able to infer the number of “invisible” galaxies beyond the reach of telescopes, leading to the surprising realisation that the vast majority are too faint and far away to be seen.
When the Universe was only a few billion years old, there were ten times as many galaxies in a given volume of space than there are today, the findings suggest.
This in turn suggests that “significant evolution must have occurred to reduce their number through extensive merging of systems.”
US indicts ‘Evil Corp’ hackers with alleged Russian intelligence ties
A Lamborghini-driving Moscow hacker who called his operation Evil Corp and has ties to the FSB Russian intelligence service was indicted by US authorities Thursday for the cybertheft of tens of millions of dollars.
An indictment unsealed in Pittsburgh named Maksim Yakubets and his Evil Corp partner Igor Turashev as the main figures in a group which inserted malware on computers in dozens of countries to steal more than $100 million from companies and local authorities.
The indictment was accompanied by sanctions from the US Treasury on the two men, as well as the announcement of a $5 million reward toward Yakubets' arrest and conviction -- the highest reward ever offered for a cybercriminal.
‘You’re a damn liar’: Joe Biden goes off on Iowa voter for attacking his son’s work in Ukraine
As House Democrats move closer to indicting President Donald Trump on articles of impeachment, many Trump supporters continue to insist that Trump did nothing wrong when, on July 25, he tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Moreover, some impeachment critics still claim that an investigation of the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine is warranted. The Bidens’ connection to Ukraine was brought up this week by a man at a Joe Biden campaign event in Iowa — and the former vice president and U.S. senator from Delaware wasted no time calling him out.
Ukrainians aren’t happy about Rudy Giuliani’s surprise visit to ‘destroy’ Dems’ impeachment efforts: report
President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, made a surprise visit to Ukraine's capital this week with his "shady band of conspiracy theorists," BuzzFeed News reports, and people are not happy about his arrival.
Giuliani's visit comes as Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky prepares to enter into peace talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin and as Ukrainians looks to distance themselves from the fact that their country is a key factor in the impeachment proceedings playing out in D.C. As BuzzFeed News points out, Giuliani is in the country to do research for a pro-Trump documentary that aims to "destroy" the Democrats' impeachment effort.