Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

Is it possible to count the stars?

Well, yes and no. If a very patient person went out night after night, she could count up all the stars she could see. But if she then looked through a telescope and tried to count again, she would find many more stars, because the telescope would help her see faint stars that she couldn't see with her naked eye. If she got an even bigger telescope, she would see even more stars!

It is possible for astronomers to guess how many stars there are, though. First, we can use physics to make a good guess about how many stars there are in our galaxy (about 100 billion). Then we can make a guess about how many galaxies there are in the visible universe (also about 100 billion). Then we just multiply these numbers together to estimate the number of stars in the visible universe - ten thousand billion billion stars!

March 2003, Kate Becker (more by Kate Becker) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about Stars: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

URL: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=510
This page has been accessed 31834 times since March 26, 2003.
Last modified: March 26, 2003 5:02:29 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)