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Universe Has Billions More Stars Than Thought

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posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 08:00 AM
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Counting all of those twinkling lights in the night sky just got a lot harder. Wed Mar 24, 2010 03:15 PM ET | content provided by AFP

THE GIST:

Astronomers could have miscounted the number of galaxies in the universe.
Old, distant galaxies are often missed because their light may be obstructed.
The discovery could add powerfully to knowledge about the timeline by which stars and then galaxies formed.


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Astronomers may have underestimated the tally of galaxies in some parts of the universe by as much as 90 percent, according to a study reported on Wednesday in Nature, the weekly British science journal.

Surveys of the cosmos are based on a signature of ultraviolet light that turns out to be a poor indicator of what's out there, its authors say.

In the case of very distant, old galaxies, the telltale light may not reach Earth as it is blocked by interstellar clouds of dust and gas -- and, as a result, these galaxies are missed by the map-makers.

"Astronomers always knew they were missing some fraction of the galaxies... but for the first time we now have a measurement. The number of missed galaxies is substantial," said Matthew Hayes of the University of Geneva's observatory, who led the investigation.

Hayes' team used the world's most advanced optical instrument -- Europe's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, which has four 8.2-meter (26.65-feet) behemoths -- to carry out the experiment.

They turned two of the giants towards a well-studied area of deep space called the GOODS-South field.

The astronomers carried out two sets of observations in the same region, hunting for light emitted by galaxies born 10 billion years ago.

The first looked for so-called Lyman-alpha light, the classic telltale used to compile cosmic maps, named after its U.S. discoverer, Theodore Lyman. Lyman-alpha is energy released by excited hydrogen atoms.

The second observation used a special camera called HAWK-1 to look for a signature emitted at a different wavelength, also by glowing hydrogen, which is known as the hydrogen-alpha (or H-alpha) line.

The second sweep yielded a whole bagful of light sources that had not been spotted using the Lyman-alpha technique.

They include some of the faintest galaxies ever found, forged at a time when the universe was just a child.

The astronomers conclude that Lyman-alpha surveys may only spot just a tiny number of the total light emitted from far galaxies. Astonishingly, as many as 90 percent of such distant galaxies may go unseen in these exercises.

"If there are 10 galaxies seen, there could be a hundred there," said Hayes.

The discovery could add powerfully to knowledge about the timeline by which stars and then galaxies formed.

"Now that we know how much light we've been missing, we can start to create far more accurate representations of the cosmos, understanding better how quickly stars have formed at different times in the life of the universe," co-author Miguel Mas-Hesse said in a press release issued by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Only a small part of the light spectrum is visible to the human eye, which is why astronomers use ultraviolet, gamma and other radiation sources as additional sources for observation
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billion[color=limegreen]S...is it me or is it getting a little crowded in here?


I think a civilization just a couple thousand years older could have the capability to detect & visit us; especially if they're way smarter than we could ever hope to be.

This bit of news just makes me think there's most probably a couple civilizations out there at least a billion years older than ours




posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 08:37 AM
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This recent news is very exciting, indeed. What was already humongous just got a whole lot bigger. I will be interested in following the catalogs as the galaxies are detected.

Among other things it should vastly increase the odds in the Drake equation!



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 08:43 AM
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Much ado about nothing I say. So there are a few billion more stars than previously, um, thought? Calculated? It changes absolutely nothing concrete.



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 08:43 AM
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Hmm well there are already over 200-300 billion observable galaxies, so this brings it up to the trillions at least. Wow



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 01:15 PM
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There are major consequences hanging on this if it's true.

Dark matter is no longer needed and all study, done and in progress will be useless and obsolete.



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 01:27 PM
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Originally posted by Sinter Klaas
There are major consequences hanging on this if it's true.

Dark matter is no longer needed and all study, done and in progress will be useless and obsolete.


Not so fast. Main evidence for dark matter is rotational speeds of stars in galaxies, not the number of galaxies themselves. So I would say that dark matter estimate will not be substantialy revised.



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 03:08 PM
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reply to post by Maslo
 


The reason they even came up with dark matter was because they missed about 90% of all the matter in the universe to explain it's behaviour.

The matter which is responsible for gravity was missing and they came up with dark matter to fill up the hole, giving the missing gravity another source.

This article says there seems to be no missing source at all.
So dark matter has no valid means for existence anymore.

Edit.
The use for dark matter to explain the rotation of stars is made after it has been agreed to be used in our current understanding at all.

Because there seems to be evidence for dark matter not even to be needed in the first place, it also means that everything they used for dark matter to explain it with has to be revisited and they have to come up with another explenation.




[edit on 27-3-2010 by Sinter Klaas]



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 03:44 PM
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Originally posted by Sinter Klaas
reply to post by Maslo
 


The reason they even came up with dark matter was because they missed about 90% of all the matter in the universe to explain it's behaviour.

The matter which is responsible for gravity was missing and they came up with dark matter to fill up the hole, giving the missing gravity another source.

This article says there seems to be no missing source at all.
So dark matter has no valid means for existence anymore.

Edit.
The use for dark matter to explain the rotation of stars is made after it has been agreed to be used in our current understanding at all.

Because there seems to be evidence for dark matter not even to be needed in the first place, it also means that everything they used for dark matter to explain it with has to be revisited and they have to come up with another explenation.




[edit on 27-3-2010 by Sinter Klaas]


This article is about distant galaxies, 10 billion ly away, but anomalous rotations are observed even in near galaxies, also in our galaxy, so this does not explain
it.

Anomalous rotation WAS the behavior dark matter was introduced to fix. Is there some other behaviour you meant?

What this find means, IMHO, is that there is both more matter and more dark matter. More galaxies. They do not say that these new galaxies dont contain dark matter (dont have anomalous rotations).



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 06:24 PM
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reply to post by Maslo
 


Wait a sec here.
I read the exact same article from a different source and there is a thread right here talking about it.

As far as my understanding of the universe goes.
Dark matter is what scientists came up with to explain the matter what is necessary to provide the gravity because of the missing matter ( galaxies and stuff )

I am curious where you learned it is there to explain the rotations.


They did not say dark matter doesn't exist but to put 1 and 1 together dark matter shouldn't be around because of the extra galaxies ( matter ) there is no need for it in the first place.

[edit on 27-3-2010 by Sinter Klaas]



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 09:34 PM
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Originally posted by Sinter Klaas
Dark matter is what scientists came up with to explain the matter what is nescessary to provide the gravity because of the missing matter ( galaxies and stuff )

I am curious where you learned it is there to explain the rotations.


Actually I think you're both right. Dark matter is an issue with respect to the rotational speed of galaxies. But matter appeared to be missing on larger scales too:

en.wikipedia.org...

Dark matter was postulated by Fritz Zwicky in 1934, to account for evidence of "missing mass" in the orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters. Subsequently, other observations have indicated the presence of dark matter in the universe, including the rotational speeds of galaxies, gravitational lensing of background objects by galaxy clusters such as the Bullet Cluster, and the temperature distribution of hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies.


So this would appear to solve part of the dark matter problem on larger scales, but not the rotational speed of galaxies



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 10:08 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Ok

That's what I call an unexpected outcome


Thanks. I didn't know that.


So this would appear to solve part of the dark matter problem on larger scales, but not the rotational speed of galaxies


Is there any other explenation for the rotational speed ?

My guess is that it isn't an issue because of the missing Now new found gravity source . Not from inside the galaxy but from the outside. Giving it a spin so to speak. Gravitational lensing could just as well be caused by a super massive black hole what devoured it's entire galaxy. As long as we are blind we just don;t really know for sure.



posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 10:51 PM
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Originally posted by Sinter Klaas
Is there any other explenation for the rotational speed ?

My guess is that it isn't an issue because of the missing Now new found gravity source . Not from inside the galaxy but from the outside. Giving it a spin so to speak. Gravitational lensing could just as well be caused by a super massive black hole what devoured it's entire galaxy. As long as we are blind we just don;t really know for sure.


We know about the supermassive black holes and you'd think that would be enough, but it's not.

There are theories, but no confirmed explanation yet, that's why it's called "dark" matter, dark is a code name for "unknown".

I can only offer my prediction which is merely a guess and I could be completely wrong. My prediction is, someday we will see an announcement like this one, that they found extra matter they didn't know about before, but INSIDE galaxies. Most likely MACHOs or massive compact halo objects, or something along those lines, would be my guess. But I emphasize, it's just a guess. After all, the Earth is "dark matter" so if the very planet we live on is dark matter why should it be so surprising if we find other dark stuff floating around? Of course it's hard to see because it emits no light, so I'm guessing that's why we haven't found it yet.



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:28 AM
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Originally posted by Lannock
Much ado about nothing I say. So there are a few billion more stars than previously, um, thought? Calculated? It changes absolutely nothing concrete.


Not stars!

It's to do with whole galaxies! Ranges before went for 100 billion to 200/300 billion galaxies in the universe. Each galaxy having hundreds of billions of stars. Most stars having multiple planets/moons around them

Now it's more likely to be galaxies ranging in the trillion +

So I'd say it's a lot about a lot!



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:41 AM
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In order to get a clear picture of how the universe is formed we would need to study every planet, star and space debris (comets) Science is getting there, HA!
we are speck of dust in the universe.



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by Lannock
Much ado about nothing I say. So there are a few billion more stars than previously, um, thought? Calculated? It changes absolutely nothing concrete.



What exactly is concrete? To think we have a grasp on the workings of even 50% of the universe is loony IMO.



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 06:19 PM
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Originally posted by SmokeandShadow

Originally posted by Lannock
Much ado about nothing I say. So there are a few billion more stars than previously, um, thought? Calculated? It changes absolutely nothing concrete.



What exactly is concrete? To think we have a grasp on the workings of even 50% of the universe is loony IMO.


We don't have the workings of our own solar system never mind going on about the universe!



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