The outer space deserves the title of the vast unknown as new observations of the Universe reveal a number of 10 times more galaxies than the previously known number.
It comes as no surprise that the Universe still holds a lot of surprises as humanity is just taking its first steps in trying to understand and chart the great unknown surrounding our planet.
But scientists were baffled after new analysis of the data gathered by the Hubble Telescope tend to indicate that there are ten times more galaxies in the Universe than the previously known numbers.
The reference data was gathered in 1995 with the help of the same Hubble Telescope. Scientists had set out to observe and analyze the same area of the sky for ten consecutive days.
The study was undertaken shortly after the telescope was repaired in orbit. The data obtained after the ten days observation resulted also in an image that is now known as the Hubble Deep Field.
The result of the study demonstrated and best seen with the help of the picture, shows a great number of galaxies in an area that would have appeared empty to an unaided eye.
As the Deep Field Image was taken as a standard, based on the number of galaxies detected there a rough estimate was deduced that would encompass the number of galaxies in the rest of the known Universe. The 1995 official number estimated around 200 million galaxies across the sky.
The number was left unquestioned until a team of University of Nottingham scientists used modern technology and re-analyzed the data. The estimated result?
It would seem that the night sky is populated by almost 2 trillion galaxies, most of which are so incredibly faint that Hubble was unable to see them. As technology marks new breakthroughs and advances considerably and almost constantly each year, the previously known numbers are suffering modifications.
Project leader, Cristopher Conselice, and his team assembled the deep space data gathered by Hubble throughout the years and used it in order to create 3D maps. The maps were then used to estimate a more accurate number of galaxies than that based on a single shot.
New mathematical models were also applied in order to determine the existence and probability of the galaxies which cannot be openly detected. The results led to the ten times more galaxies number.
The study has been accepted and will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.
The Hubble Telescope, whose construction begun in the 1970’s and continued in the 1980’s seems to be reaching its limits as new and more powerful telescopes are in the making.
The James Webb Space Telescope, that is scheduled to be launched in 2018, will be more powerful and could potentially detect more of the as yet unseen distant objects waiting to be discovered in the Universe.
Image Source: Flickr