Discovery boosts chance of alien life
Thursday 02 December 2010
The chances of life existing beyond the Earth have been boosted by the discovery that the number of stars in the universe might be triple current estimates.
Astronomers have learnt that small, dim stars known as red dwarfs are far more prolific than was previously thought.
A team at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii detected light from red dwarfs in eight massive "elliptical galaxies" between 50 million and 300 million light years away.
Their findings, published in the journal Nature, showed that the observed galaxies contain about 20 times more stars than in our own Milky Way galaxy.
As a result, it may be necessary to revise the total number of stars in the universe upwards by a factor of three.
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