Relative sizes of some well known celestial bodies

These size comparisons may change your perspective regarding our significance in the Universe….

It’s a big universe.

Antares is the 15th brightest star in the sky. It is more than 1000 light years away.

How many stars are there in the sky?

No one has an exact count. Needless to say the numbers are astonomical.

Estimates are 200 to 400 billion stars (some estimates are higher) in our own Milky Way Galaxy.

A Hubble telescope image of the
spiral galaxy NGC 4414. How many stars do you count? A similar galaxy, NGC 300 was recently brought into closer view by Hubble. Amazing resolution!

How many galaxies?

Catalogs of galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field list about 3,000 Galaxies in a small patch of the sky….

This is a Hubble Deep survey image of spiral and elliptical galaxies.
About 27,000 views this size are needed to cover the whole sky.

So that’s a rough estimate of 3,000 galaxies in one patch times 27,000,000 patches = 81,000,000,000 galaxies out there that we can see with Hubble. (According to the Royal Observatory, that number is too low. They extimate 100 billion, or 100,000,000,000 galaxies.)

Assumming that they are about the same size as our Milky Way (many are much larger actually) ….

81,000,000,000 galaxies times 400,000,000,000 stars per galaxy = 32,400,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe.

or more than 32 sextillion stars.

Well actually that’s not even right. Recent estimates put the number at more than TWICE that…..

70 sextillion stars


Didn’t I say the numbers are astronomical?
Some astronomers suspect the number is infinite.

Don’t you think it might be easier to count the grains of sand on a beach?


70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars?

That is10 times as many stars as there are grains of sand on all the world’s beaches and deserts put together.

That’s just an estimate of the stars we (Hubble) might be able to see, because their light gets to Earth. How many stars are so far away that their light has not reached Earth yet? NASA alleges there are zillions of uncountable stars.
… so, about how significant do you feel about now!!

Credit: Ron Galbraith

Aerial photography of Ice skaters in New York City’s Lasker Rink in Central Park.

Credit: Bob Thaves,