After Astrophysicists Discover Two Trillion Galaxies, All Suffer Ruptured Aneurysms

Medical experts issue immediate warning against further contemplation of the universe

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This Hubble Telescope view completely fried the cerebral neurons of several Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicists.

Within hours of determining that the universe is ten times more vast than previously thought, tragedy struck four Nobel-Prize winning astrophysicists when all suffered ruptured brain aneurysms.

The team of world-renowned scientists, led by Dr. Paul J. Landon, included Drs. Victor Poperin, Alexander Brodie and Susan Roman. All were associated with the University of Nottingham in England, where they also conducted their research. None survived the sudden cerebral ruptures.

Walter Simpson, president of the university, spoke solemnly about his colleagues’ deaths: “The team had apparently just concluded a meeting in Dr. Landon’s office, discussing the publication of their findings in The Astrophysical Journal, when Dr. Brodie called the medical center to say that Dr. Landon had fallen to the floor unconscious. Then Dr. Brodie passed out mid-sentence while on the phone. When paramedics arrived, all four were insensate. They were rushed to Nottingham Medical Center where I regret to report that none could be resuscitated.”

This is not a photo of the cosmos — it’s a cat scan image of Victor Poperin’s exploding brain.

Condolences were coming into the university from all over the world, as well as praise for the four. “News of the unexpected passing of our esteemed colleagues has left me despondent and deeply shaken,” wrote Dr. Stephen Hawking in an email. “It also has me wondering if screwing around with these incredibly profound and surreal concepts might have precipitated my own motor neuron disease — perhaps pondering the unfathomable size of space actually did blow my mind.”

President Simpson said that his office was also receiving some criticism regarding the nature of the team’s work. “I had finally reconciled the total insignificance of my life in a universe ten times smaller than we now know it is,” wrote Carl Kaminsky of Ft. Wayne, Indiana who says he has suffered existential angst since he was a child. “When are you damn eggheads going to leave well enough alone!”

Another disapproving email came from Vilma Ocampo in Quezon City, the Phillipines: “I appreciate the contributions of your scientists, but everyone knows that when you mess with this kind of stuff the human brain is going to short circuit. Leave these mysteries to God.”

But President Simpson insists that the team’s findings have important implications for humanity regarding how the universe has evolved. “Their research also tells us that when the powerful James Webb Space Telescope is launched in 2018, we’ll be able to see back in time to the first galaxies in the universe.” Dr. Simpson added that astrophysicists around the world are now petitioning for the new telescope to be renamed “The Nottingham Space Telescope” in honor of the four fallen faculty members.

The scale of the universe, already unfathomable, just became even more so: There are about 10 times as many galaxies as previously thought.

The new number, two trillion galaxies, is the result of work led by Christopher J. Conselice, an astrophysicist at the University of Nottingham in England, published last week in The Astrophysical Journal.The team analyzed sky surveys by the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments able to see far away, and therefore far back, through about 13 billion years of time. The astronomers formed three-dimensional models to measure the number of galaxies at different times.

Because not even the Hubble or large Earth-based telescopes can see the oldest, faintest galaxies, they also did some mathematical work to come up with two trillion.

“It’s much bigger than anyone would have guessed,” Dr. Conselice said. “And the real number could be even higher.”

cosmos.

Previous estimates were that there were perhaps 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. One might well ask — what difference does it make? Or put another way, once you get past a couple of hundred billion galaxies, who’s counting?

The scale of the universe, already unfathomable, just became even more so: There are about 10 times as many galaxies as previously thought.

The new number, two trillion galaxies, is the result of work led by Christopher J. Conselice, an astrophysicist at the University of Nottingham in England, published last week in The Astrophysical Journal.

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The team analyzed sky surveys by the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments able to see far away, and therefore far back, through about 13 billion years of time. The astronomers formed three-dimensional models to measure the number of galaxies at different times.

Because not even the Hubble or large Earth-based telescopes can see the oldest, faintest galaxies, they also did some mathematical work to come up with two trillion.

“It’s much bigger than anyone would have guessed,” Dr. Conselice said. “And the real number could be even higher.”

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Previous estimates were that there were perhaps 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. One might well ask — what difference does it make? Or put another way, once you get past a couple of hundred billion galaxies, who’s counting?

But the finding has important implications for understanding how the universe has evolved.

The researchers found that most of the oldest galaxies were low in mass, similar to some of the small “satellite” galaxies near our own Milky Way, and that there were about 10 times fewer low-mass galaxies today. That suggests that over billions of years, galaxies have been colliding and joining together.

The study also suggests how important the more powerful James Webb Space Telescope, set to be launched in 2018, will be.

“It will be able to study these galaxies that we’re just barely detecting — these lower-mass galaxies that are really the first galaxies of the universe,” Dr. Conselice said.

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