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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Jan > Jan 10

Experts Estimate Galaxy Count

From: Steven L. Wilson Sr <Ndunlks@aol.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 23:54:23 EST
Fwd Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 00:59:23 -0500
Subject: Experts Estimate Galaxy Count


125 Billion in the Universe, They Think


Reuters

A U S T I N,   Texas,   Jan. 7 =97 Looking back in time at a tiny
section of sky, the Hubble Space Telescope found there may be
125 billion galaxies in the universe, about 45 billion more than
the last best estimate, astronomers reported today.

This deep view of the universe reveals a plethora of galaxies in
visible and infrared light. The image by NASA's Hubble Space
Telescope revealed many more than expected. (R. Williams
[STScI], the HDF-South team, and NASA)

The new number was based on observations by the orbiting
telescope=92s Deep Field camera last October, when it looked at a
speck-sized area of the southern sky, taking what amounts to a
visual core sample of the heavens.

The Hubble telescope took a similar view of the northern sky in
1995, and then estimated that there might be 80 billion galaxies
in existence.

Harry Ferguson of the Space Telescope Science Institute, which
studies Hubble findings, said the southern observations looked a
bit further into the past than the northern ones, and managed to
detect dimmer objects in space, which accounts for the higher
galactic count.

12 Billion Light Years Away The Deep Field-South project looked
12 billion light years away in distance, back in time to a
period perhaps one billion years after the theoretical big bang
that astronomers believe created the universe.

Hubble=92s glimpse of the southern sky took in an area that would
appear to be =93about the size of a grain of sand held at arm=92s
length,=94 Ferguson told reporters at the American Astronomical
Society meeting in Austin.

But in that small segment of the sky, the telescope spied 620
galaxies.

Scientists extrapolated from that sample to theorize that there
might be 125 billion galaxies over the whole sky.

"Anybody could have predicted it", Ferguson said, stressing that
by looking further back in time, it was expected that more
galaxies would turn up.

Weird-Shaped Galaxies

Ferguson and other astronomers at a news conference acknowledged
that some of the newly detected galaxies were oddly shaped,
unlike the symmetrical Milky Way that contains Earth and other
more familiar galaxies that are shaped like spirals and
ellipses.

These newly-spied galaxies appeared to be a disorganized
collection of loosely-bound lumps. One astronomer likened their
shape to a Danish pastry with raisins and another called one
group of these galaxies =93a pastry shop.=94

The notion that there might be more galaxies than originally
thought is grist for astronomers trying to figure out how the
universe developed, especially in its earliest stages, Ferguson
said.

Perhaps Ghost Galaxies, Too

Because these observations by Hubble could see very faint
objects whose light made its journey toward Earth billions of
years ago, it probably counted so-called ghost galaxies in its
estimate.

Ghost galaxies are tiny, and consist of large amounts of
mysterious dark matter. Since astronomers believe that 90
percent of the universe may be made up of dark matter, that
makes the ghosts worth studying and new astronomical instruments
make this possible.

A light year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6
trillion miles.

   Copyright =A91998 ABCNEWS and Starwave Corporation. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed in any form.


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