In twenty years we've discovered a mind-boggling 10 times more galaxies. What will we find in another twenty years?
It was back in the 90s when astronomers examined the universe as seen from Earth – and even then it was a vast amount of galaxies. It was suggested that there were around 100-200 billion galaxies floating around Earth that we could detect but a new analysis two decades later, has revealed the number is closer to 2 trillion.
A team of astronomers from Nottingham University constructed a 3D map on information gathered over 15 years by the Hubble Space Telescope and ground observatories while using new mathematical models to make a more accurate estimation
Professor Christopher Conselice, who led the research conducted by an international team, believed the data gathered and processed using the new model show the way the universe behaves can only mean there are far more galaxies present than they thought two decades ago. Despite the estimation, almost 90 percent of these galaxies aren’t able to be seen by today’s current technology.
“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?”
The new research has helped understand the formation of the universe a little more – by observing the galaxies further away, they are actually watching time go backwards since it takes longer for the light to reach us. By measuring these galaxies at different points in time, the team are able to see more how the universe was formed.
“This is very surprising as we know that, over the 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution since the Big Bang, galaxies have been growing through star formation and mergers with other galaxies,” stated Conselice. “Finding more galaxies in the past implies that significant evolution must have occurred to reduce their number through extensive merging of systems.”
It seems we are one step further into understanding the secrets the universe holds and represents the amount that’ll be yet to find out once new technology is evolved.
Details of the research was published in Astrophysical Journal.