London: The universe holds more stars than the total number of sand grains on the earth, or just triple the current estimates, boosting chances of alien life elsewhere in the cosmos.
Their numbers add up to a staggering three septillion or a three followed by 24 zeroes. If that were not mind-boggling enough, the discovery boosts the chances of extra-terrestrial life.
The `new stars` are red dwarfs - small bundles of glowing gases cooler and dimmer than the sun, the journal Nature reports.
Pieter van Dokkum, astronomer at the Yale University, US, said: "There are possibly trillions of earths orbiting these stars," according to the Daily Mail.
They were already known to be the most abundant type of star. But our inability to `see` much past our own galaxy meant no one realised just how common they were.
Dokkum used one of the world`s largest telescopes to `peer` far past our own Milky Way into eight egg-shaped elliptical galaxies.
The giant telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii picked out the particular pattern of light emitted by red dwarfs and the `signature` was much stronger than expected.