Hubble finds 10 times the number of galaxies in our universe, making Earth but a grain of sand

hubble finds ten times the number of galaxies in universe
A recent census performed by NASA and the ESA have updated the number of galaxies in the observable universe and unsurprisingly, original estimations were very wrong. When the Hubble Deep Field telescope first began capturing images in the mid-1990’s, scientists determined the number of galaxies in the universe to sit between 100 to 200 billion. Now, an international team led by Christopher Conselice from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom just found those initial estimates to be roughly 10 times too low.

The group’s surprising conclusion about the number of galaxies in our universe comes as a result of using deep-space images from the Hubble Space Telescope. After pouring through data compiled by his team — as well as other published works — Conselice and co.  painstakingly converted Hubble’s images into 3D, allowing them to make accurate measurements of the number of galaxies at different times in the universe’s history.

The team also used new mathematical models allowing them to infer the existence of galaxies which our telescopes simply cannot observe. In the end, this led to their realization that in order for their calculations to be correct, 90 percent of the galaxies in the observable universe are actually too faint and too far away to be seen with our current generation of telescopes.

In analyzing the data, Conselice’s team looked more than 13 billion years into the past. What their observations revealed was that galaxies are not evenly distributed throughout the universe’s history. Instead, it showed there were a factor of 10 more galaxies per unit volume when the universe was just a few billion years old compared to today.

Furthermore, these early galaxies were relatively small and faint with masses similar to those surrounding the Milky Way. Conselice’s results support the top-down formation of structure in the Universe — an evolution during which galaxies merged together, dramatically reducing their total number over the universe’s history.

In more practical terms, this top-down formation structure helps explain an ancient question: why is the night sky dark? Conselice’s conclusion is that due in part to the abundance of galaxies, every point in the sky thus contains part of a galaxy. However, most of these galaxies are invisible to the modern telescope, let alone the naked eye.

Through a combination of factors —  i.e. redshifting of light, the Universe’s massive size. and absorption of light by intergalactic dust and gas — the night sky always remains visibly dark. In other words, it’s all enough to make us appreciate just how small we truly are.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Pairs of supermassive black holes spotted in colliding galaxies

Astronomers have discovered several pairs of supermassive black holes in galaxies that are colliding with each other. These black holes will spiral closer and closer together and eventually merge into one supermassive black hole.

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Movies & TV

Cassian Andor series and 'Mandalorian' details expand Star Wars' future

Disney has sky-high expectations for its Star Wars universe, with plenty of plans for the franchise on the big screen and television over the next few years. Here are all the upcoming movies and TV shows, both rumored and confirmed.
Smart Home

This super-cool tiny home with a living wall lived at the UN this summer

This tiny home is a collaboration between Yale University and Gray Organschi Architecture that can potentially be produced for less than $50,000 and assembled on site within three days.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers discover two rogue planets that do not orbit a star

Astronomers have identified two rogue planets in our galaxy which do not orbit around a star. Unlike the vast majority of discovered planets, these rogue planets drift through space alone with no sun to shine on them.
Emerging Tech

Quantum-based accelerometer can locate objects without GPS

Researchers have created a quantum "compass" that allows navigation without satellites. The instrument, technically called a standalone quantum accelerometer, is small enough to be transportable and has a very high level of accuracy.
Emerging Tech

Ancient continent discovered beneath the ice of Antarctica

Antarctica could be hiding the remains of a long-lost continent. Scientists created a 3D map of the crust beneath the Antarctic ice sheet which shows a similarity to the crust in Australia and India, suggesting they used to be joined.
Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Emerging Tech

Watch this lab-grown heart tissue beat just like the real thing

A team of researchers in Germany have used stem cells to create a lab-grown human heart tissue which actually beats, as well as responding to drugs in the same way as the real thing.
Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.
Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Emerging Tech

Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness

An eye patch covered in tiny needles sounds like a torture device. In fact, it's a potential new medical treatment for eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Here's how it works.