Thursday, October 13, 2016

Today in our increasing insignificance...

Hey, guess what's bigger and faker than we thought? Give up? The universe. NASA announced today that there are probably two trillion galaxies in the universe. Trillion with a 'T.' That's 2 followed by twelve zeroes. A number that is something like ten to twenty times as many galaxies in the observable universe than was previously believed.
"Holy shit everybody, I mean...just holy shit."
-Some NASA guy
"One trillion, nine hundred ninety-nine
billion-wait, sohoisticated computer-
-are you for goddamn kidding me?"
So I think the obvious question here is if there're so many galaxies and galaxies are, generally speaking big. Like, a few hundred billion stars each. Then how did astronomers not notice there were so many? The answer of course, is shut up. The universe is brain-meltingly huge and astronomers like to watch Netflix sometimes, just like everybody else. Also, it turns out like 90% of galaxies are too far or too faint to be seen. And it's not like you just go out and count them, you use 3D-imaging and sophisticated software.

According to University of Nottingham researcher Christopher Conselice:

Pictured: Two spiral galaxies,
totally getting down. Aw yeah...
"It boggles the mind that over 90 percent of the galaxies in the universe have yet to be studied. Who knows what interesting properties we will find when we discover these galaxies with future generations of telescopes?"

-Christopher Conselice, 
University of Nottingham
go fightin' Sheriffs!

Is your mind, like Christopher's, boggled? Great. That other thing you're feeling? That's just the creeping realization that we're ten to twenty times less significant than we thought we were. On the upside, all the shitty things about your life shrunk proportionately as well. Now your shitty wifi signal and tedious, unfulfilling job are ten to twenty times less important than they were when you woke up this morning. Bright side.
Above: some planet.

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