We may not have (officially) made contact with extraterrestrials yet, but new findings by astronomers suggest that it just a matter of time.
“This changes everything we thought we knew about our galaxy,” said Lance McGrew, an astronomer based in Lynwood. “Now it’s even more probable that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe.”
Using powerful new telescope technology, including NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, astronomers have found that there are at least three times more stars in the universe as previously thought. As a result, they theorize that there are trillions of earthlike planets in the universe.
The astronomers also found galaxies that are far older than ours and may contain 20-25 times more dwarf red stars than younger galaxies such as the Milky Way. Red dwarves are dimmer and smaller than our own sun, and astronomers believe that the planets orbiting them are more likely to support the mature biological life forms and the possible evolution of intelligent life.
"Red dwarfs are typically more than 10 billion years old and so have been around long enough for complex life to evolve on planets around them,” said astronomer Pieter van Dokkum to the BBC News. “It's one reason why people are interested in this type of star."
Even more intriguing, the recent discovery of these additional stars may shed light on the nature of dark matter.
"The discovery of more stars in the universe means that we might not need quite as much dark matter as we thought to explain how the universe looks and behaves," said astronomer Marek Kukula.