Archive for December 12th, 2010

Through The Wave That Runs Forever

There seems to have been an accounting error involving the number of stars in the sky.

Previously, Science Men had figured there were about 100 sextillion stars in the universe. But this month a piece in Nature contends that this number is off by a factor of three: there are actually 300 sextillion stars up there in the great wide open.

According to the AP, this new estimate is exuding a “stink.”

The study ques-tions a key assumption that astronomers often use: that most galaxies have the same properties as our Milky Way. And that’s creating a bit of a stink among astronomers who want a more orderly cosmos.

It’s one of two studies being published online Wednesday in the journal Nature that focus on red dwarf stars, the most common stars in the universe. The study that offers the new estimate on stars is led by a Yale University astronomer. He calculates that there are far more red dwarfs than previously thought, and that inflates the total star count.

As is often the case, the Mistake was Made because of the sorta charming, but pretty exasperating, penchant of human beings for presuming that everything everywhere is Just Like Them.

Guess what: it’s not.

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