News today from The European Southern Observatory, located in Chile:
Using a whopping nine-gigapixel image from the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, an international team of astronomers has created a catalogue of more than 84 million stars in the central parts of the Milky Way. This gigantic dataset contains more than ten times more stars than previous studies and is a major step forward for the understanding of our home galaxy. The image gives viewers an incredible, zoomable view of the central part of our galaxy. Continues here
And click through, because ESO offers up some wonderful enlargeable photos which are food for deep thought.
Sooo…we have 84 million (and counting) stars in our galaxy and according to the boffins that know, there are between 80 billion and 100 billion galaxies in our observable universe.
84,000,000 X 100,000,000,000 = a very very lot. Indeed.
And as twitterpal @happyycamperr noted a few minutes ago before your humble scribe’s musing became a post on the blog, “yeah-gotta be at least one dumbass out there somewhere” which is a cue for a song if ever I heard one, because it has one of the best pay-off lines ever written:
“And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, cos there’s bugger all down here on Earth”
UPDATE: Reader DT writes in with:
Hi, The Chile work is on a small subset (84millon stars), the Milky Way has 200-400B stars (as in that other article in fact, and other sources), so, to me, looks like
200 * 10^9 * 100 * 10^9 = 2 * 10^22
How many LSLs?