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Space Science

The Starry Sky Just Got Starrier 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the twinkle-twinkle dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Astronomers have surveyed eight elliptical galaxies, and found that we've vastly underestimated the number of dim red dwarf stars in these giant galaxies. When they used the new number of red dwarfs in their calculations, they tripled the total number of known stars in the universe."
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The Starry Sky Just Got Starrier

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  • first? or third? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mug funky (910186) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:08PM (#34411610)

    dark matter much?

  • Re:first? or third? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nugoo (1794744) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:11PM (#34411654)
    To phrase that as a real question: What effect does this discovery have on the current estimates of the amount of dark matter in the universe?
  • Re:first? or third? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:50PM (#34412030)

    > True, Dark Matter, like Dark Energy, is just a placeholder name for something that we _think_ is there.

    FTFY.

    Probably will get modded down, but if you "knew" it, then you would be able to prove it exists. Since no one has seen it, touched it, tasted it, smelt it, or felt it, therefore it is a mathematical kludge, aka, the aether of the 1900s. (Yes, I'm aware of http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/aug/HQ_06297_CHANDRA_Dark_Matter.html [nasa.gov] )

    Ergo, while said more politely, "it falls out of the math", which will allthough appear quite reasonable at first, given the current limitations of understanding gravity / light / mass & energy, it is still one a big hack-job based on one assumption after another, namely:
      a) that there is only one type of gravity and
      b) gravity is universal (which is a little preposterous / pretentious to base how the WHOLE universe works based on one tiny little planet.)
      c) redshift is accurate (ARP has interesting evidence that calls into question this assumption)

    This prof. provides a half-decent summary though:
    http://zebu.uoregon.edu/1999/ph123/lec08.html [uoregon.edu]

  • Re:first? or third? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionaryNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:54PM (#34412056) Journal

    I believe this [wikipedia.org] is one piece of very strong evidence for some sort of pervasive weakly interacting massive stuff. Two galaxies collide. The normal matter interacts with other normal matter and slows down, The "other stuff" does not interact, and keeps moving. We know it is there because it creates a gravitational lens. If the lensing were caused by any sort of matter that interacted with other matter, these lenses would not be located where they are.

    So the theory of Dark Matter is more than just "there is more stuff than we can see." We can see specific phenomenon that normal matter just can not produce.

  • Re:first? or third? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Khenke (710763) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @08:11PM (#34412206) Journal

    From Popular Science [popsci.com] you can read:
    " 'Within these galaxies, a good chunk of the mass that had been ascribed to dark matter is probably stars,' said Pieter van Dokkum, the lead researcher on the project."

    So I bet "a good chunk of the mass" is a bit more than "a minor change".
    But we will probably soon get an exact new ratio after the smart guys have made new calculations, other than any of the above.

  • Re: first? or third? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @10:27PM (#34413172) Homepage Journal

    Me neither. But it really seems odd that so many Slashdotters are so rabidly against the idea of dark matter.

    The story of humanity is full of whole chapters which basically boil down to a bright spark being smothered by a bunch of ignorant fuckwads attached to their idea of how the world works. Every once in a great while the spark lands in a pile of tinder not in the furnace-equipped basement of a firetrap and something wonderful is born, but mostly people shun what they don't understand and it's their children or their children's children who are willing to incorporate it into their lives as an escape from the previous generation who doesn't "get it". This is why the technological singularity is the religion most appealing to the technological elite...

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus

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