Recent announcements from the scientific community have given a boost to the search for extraterrestrial life, and seem to have sharply increased the mainstream public’s interest in the subject.
Findings published in the December 1st advanced online publication of Nature show that astronomers are now estimating there to be three times the number of stars in the universe as previously thought. The new estimate of approximately 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (300 sextillion) stars is based on the observation of red dwarf stars, which have previously been difficult to detect because of their faint signatures. New observation technology like that at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii allowed astronomers to detect the faint signature of red dwarfs in eight large, elliptical galaxies. These galaxies have been found to be much more bountiful than previously assumed.
This discovery also increases the number of planets that might contain life.