The universe contains 10-20 times more galaxies than we ever thought

We already knew the universe was a big place, but it might be even bigger than we’d realized. 

Popular Mechanics reports on a new study conducted by a team of international astronomers that determined the universe contains at least two trillion galaxies — that’s 10+ times more than the highest previous estimates. From our little corner of the Milky Way, the study posits as much as 90 percent of all galaxies are hidden from our view. That last 10 percent is all we have the potential to see from here, and that’s only with the most powerful telescopes on the planet.

"We are missing the vast majority of galaxies because they are very faint and far away," Nottingham Astrophysics Professor Christopher Conselice said in a statement. "The number of galaxies in the universe is a fundamental question in astronomy, and it boggles the mind that over 90 percent of the galaxies in the cosmos have yet to be studied. Who knows what interesting properties we will find when we study these galaxies with the next generation of telescopes?"

The study was backed by the Royal Astronomical Society, and the paper was published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Though we can put numbers on it, it’s almost impossible to fathom the sheer scope of this. For future space explorers, it means we have a whole lot of territory to cover over the next few thousand years.

(Via Popular Mechanics)

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