After studying the Universe for hundreds of years, one would think we would at least have an accurate count of the stars - Turns out that we are grossly off. At least that's the conclusion reached by two Yale scientists, who claim that we may have underestimated the number of twinklers, by as much as, two-thirds.
According to researcher, Pieter van Dokkum, our Universe is not made up of billions of stars but about 300 sextillion or 3 trillion multiplied by 100 billion which comes to 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or triple our original estimates.
Why have scientists been so off on their estimates? Mr. Dokkum believes there are a number of reasons.
The newly discovered stars are believed to be red dwarf stars - small clusters of glowing gases that are cooler and much dimmer than the sun, making them more difficult to spot. Also, when scientists estimated the number of stars, they assumed that the galaxies had the same proportion of dwarf stars as our Milky Way, which is spiral shaped.
But when Mr. Dokkum and his team observed our outer galaxies using the extra-powerful Keck Telescope in Hawaii, they noticed that about one-third of the galaxies in the universe were elliptical not spiral, which meant they had more dwarf stars than our Milky Way.
Scientists have always believed that there are about 100 billion to a trillion galaxies in our Universe - and based on the Milky Way, they had concluded that each of them had a billion stars. However, Mr. Dokkum believes that one third of them are elliptical and therefore, contain many more stars - anywhere from 1 to 10 trillion each, thereby tripling the original estimates.
While this in itself is exciting, what is even more so, is the implication, that more stars means more planets, which may mean - Yes you guessed it - more chances of finding aliens!
While some scientists are excited by this new study, others are a little skeptical, since it rebuts the theory of an orderly Universe, suggesting that things are much more complicated than we had originally thought.
Since Mr. Dokkum and his team based their assumptions by observing only eight distant galaxies, there is more work to be done, before the results can be confirmed - But, if they are right, the numbers are simply mind boggling aren't they?