We may not be alone in our galaxy. According to the latest study, we may have as many as 36 intelligent alien civilisations in Milky Way that are waiting to be discovered.

Scientists from the University of Nottingham seem to have answered the age-old question the in history of mankind whether there are other thriving life forms in our universe. According to the researchers Tom Westby and Christopher J. Conselice, there could be more "more than 30 intelligent civilizations throughout our Galaxy."

The study published in The Astrophysical Journal, analyses the possible number of Communicating Extra-Terrestrial Intelligent (CETI) in Milky Way based on the assumption that the life forms on other planets come to existence in a similar way as it does on Earth.

The researchers use a calculation method known as Astrobiological Copernican Limit to calculate how many planets in our galaxy could support intelligent life, according to the news release on the university's official website. It is described as the "classic method for estimating the number of intelligent civilizations."

"There should be at least a few dozen active civilizations in our Galaxy under the assumption that it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth," Conselice explained. "The idea is looking at evolution, but on a cosmic scale. We call this calculation the Astrobiological Copernican Limit," he added.

The study reportedly promises to simplify assumptions based on new data and provides "a solid estimate of the number of civilizations in our Galaxy."

The study's basic assumption is that it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, just like Earth. Secondly, it is based on how long the civilisations have been sending out signals and it must last as long as ours, meaning 100 years old. Based on these assumptions, the scientists suggest there could be about "36 ongoing intelligent technical civilizations throughout our Galaxy."

Meanwhile, the authors suggest that the average distance to one of these alien civilisations is around 17000 light-years. This makes detection and communication with the current technological scenario on our planet completely impossible.

This artist's concept shows what the young, dead, disk galaxy MACS2129-1, right, would look like when compared with the Milky Way galaxy, left. Although three times as massive as the Milky Way, it is only half the size. NASA, ESA, and Z. Levy STScI

"Searches for extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations not only reveals the existence of how life forms, but also gives us clues for how long our own civilization will last. If we find that intelligent life is common then this would reveal that our civilization could exist for much longer than a few hundred years, alternatively if we find that there are no active civilizations in our Galaxy it is a bad sign for our own long-term existence. By searching for extraterrestrial intelligent life -- even if we find nothing -- we are discovering our own future and fate," Conselice concludes about the scope of the study.