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Ten billion billion universes similar to the Milky Way have been sampled and comprise only a small part of creation, Harlow Shapley '10, Paine Professor of Practical Astronomy, told the American Astronomical Society Thursday.
The galaxies--each a separate universe like our own--in the reachable portion of space comprise about one percent of the total existing number, according to Shapley.
The cosmos started from a chaotic distribution of stars that became organized billions of years ago, Shapley said. the varieties of shapes in the galaxies comprising the cosmes indicate a continuing process of evolution.
No clues indicating that the larger aggregates of stars are organized into any kind of superstructure have been found to date, added Shapley, although the search for such clues continues.
Shapley estimates that there are a billion visible galaxies within a distance of a billion light years, with another billion concealed.
The census of the cosmos was taken at the College Observatory, of which Shapley is director.
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