Today’s isn’t-that-an-interesting-bit-of-trivia comes from some astronomers at the International Astronomical Union conference in Sydney that have come up with a rough estimate of just how many little points of light make up the visible universe. The answer: 70 sextillion, or seven followed by 22 zeroes.
Astronomers in Australia say there are 10 times more stars in the visible Universe than all the grains of sand on the world’s beaches and deserts.
From the darkest parts of Earth, the naked human eye can see about 5,000 stars; from a brightly lit city street, only about 100.
But modern telescopes tell a different story.
The Australian astronomers used some of the world’s most powerful instruments to measure the brightness of all the galaxies in one sector of the cosmos – and then calculated how many stars they must have contained.
The scientists hastened to add that this number is only for stars within the range of our most powerful telescopes and that there could be countless more out there. Due to the limitations on the speed of light it’s more than likely that many of the stars at the furthest edges of the visible spectrum have long since died out and new stars may have developed that can’t be seen because their light hasn’t reached Earth as of yet. A boggling thought to try and comprehend.
Anyway, the next time someone asks you how many stars in the heavens you can tell them confidently that it’s somewhere in the 70 sextillion range, at least that we can see.