Summer have arrived in Norway (although it’s taken a short break now). It has been hot and the beaches have been crowded. This reminded me of a little thought experiment you can try on your own the next time you’re on the beach.
While you’re there, grab a handful of sand. How many grains of sand would you guess you had in your hand? One hundred thousand? A million? Even more? Now try to think how many grains of sand there are in total on that beach. A number you can hardly imagine, right? This number would actually be close to the number of stars in our galaxy (roughly 3 x 10^11, or 300 billion).
Now look at this latest photo from the Hubble Space Telescope. What you are seeing here are galaxies. And lots of them. And this is just a very tiny bit of our skies. Try to imagine (even how hard it is) how many stars are in only this photo. Then try to imagine that the sky is actually filled with galaxies like in this photo. How many stars would you be up to now? I don’t know about you but I can’t really imagine the number we’re up to now. But one fact remains: There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on the Earth. Not only grains of sand on the beach you’re on, but on all the beaches in all the world. That’s a lot of sand, and that sand doesn’t even cover the number of stars in the universe. We truly live in a very big universe.


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Larger photo (6000 x 4260 @ 33MB)
Even larger photo (10816 x 7679 @ 125MB)
Bad Astronomy Blog