The Universe Has At Least Two Trillion Galaxies: Why Is The Finding Important?

First Posted: Oct 18, 2016 06:01 AM EDT

The size of the universe is incomprehensible, and now the sheer scale of it has become even more unfathomable after a recent study suggested there are 10 times the numbers of galaxies as previously believed. According to astrophysicist Christopher J. Conselice from England's University of Nottingham, the universe has at least two trillion galaxies.

The researching team conducted a study based on sky surveys by the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments to peer not only far away but also far back, through a period of about 13 billion years ago. The scientists created three dimensional models to calculate the number of galaxies present at different points of time. Along with carrying out observations, the team of astrophysicists also reportedly did some mathematical calculations to come up with the figure of two trillion galaxies. "It's much bigger than anyone would have guessed," said Christopher J. Conselice. "And the real number could be even higher."

Earlier estimates had put the number of galaxies to around 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. According to the researchers, the new findings have important implications for comprehending the evolution of the universe. During their research, the team found that the oldest galaxies had a lower mass, akin to some of the small satellite galaxies located near the Milky Way. Furthermore, at the present juncture in time, low mass galaxies are 10 times fewer in the universe which suggests that over a time period of billions, such galaxies have been colliding and joining together.

As per the scientists, the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018 will also have important implications for the further study of the universe as well as estimating the number of galaxies. The telescope will reportedly be able to find the galaxies which are barely detectable at present, especially the lower mass galaxies which were among the first to form in the universe.

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