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How many galaxies are there?

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Quick Answer

As of 2014, astronomers estimate that there are between 100 billion and 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. The precise number remains unknown due to technological limitations and the acceleration of the universe.

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Since 1993, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has used the Hubble Space Telescope to photograph the same slice of the universe at increasing magnifications. NASA multiplied the number of galaxies in this slice by the amount of space left to determine a base amount of 100 billion galaxies. The 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope should allow astronomers to observe galaxies formed as far back as 200 million years after the Big Bang. Since the first galaxies formed shortly before then, the number is expected to rise only as high as 200 billion.

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