New stars discovered in the sky

Scientists have discovered there are three times more stars in the sky than they had thought. New research in the Nature journal says this could mean there are people living on another planet like the earth.

Pallab Ghosh

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Astronomers have assumed that the composition of all galaxies is the same as our own. But using a new, more powerful instrument on the Keck telescope in Hawaii, researchers have discovered that older galaxies contain twenty times more small dim stars, called 'red dwarves', than younger galaxies such as our own. Doctor Marek Kukula of the Royal Greenwich Observatory describes what the view from a planet in an older galaxy might be like.

"When one of these galaxies that we now know contain lots and lots of small red stars, it may well be true that the night sky is dotted with these small, faint red stars glowing like embers and that might produce a very pretty effect."

According to Professor Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University, the discovery also increases the estimate of the number of planets in the universe, and therefore makes it even more likely that there’s life somewhere else in the cosmos.

"There’s been particular attention recently to these red dwarf stars. In one galaxy there’s about a trillion of these stars and there’s hundreds of billions of these galaxies. Even if the planet is quite close to the star, you could have liquid water on the planet, because the star is not as bright as the sun and so a planet can be a lot closer and still be kind of balmy, rather than scorching hot."

The discovery that there are many more stars means that our universe is a much brighter, more crowded place than we previously thought.

Pallab Ghosh, BBC News

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formación / composición

powerful instrument
intrumento potente (en este caso, efectivo)


dotted with
(estas estrellas están) esparcidas (por el cielo)

glowing like embers
(que) brillan como brasas

the cosmos
el cosmos


scorching hot
(de un) calor abrasador