Star Counting

Posted: March 23, 2011 in Astronomy/Cosmology Related, Did you know?
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Have you ever tried to count all the stars in the sky? Well if you have, I’m sure you’ve given up after 98 or so, or just lost count. Or maybe you live in the city, where counting stars is as easy as 1, 2, 3,… 4… 5, done! But some people have counted all the stars in the sky at  night. There are about 6,000 stars that can be seen with the naked eye on a very dark night (3,000 in each hemisphere).[1] Meaning that someone could possibly view 3,000 stars in the sky on a given night. But beyond what the naked eye can see, just how many stars are out in the universe?

According to the European Space Agency, there are 10 to the twenty-fourth power stars in the universe![2] That is approximately  10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars. That’s a lot! To put it into perspective it’d take a super computer 30 million years of non-stop counting at incredible speed to count to a number that high. In fact, the only way that number is reached is based upon general calculations. It would be more accurate to say there are anywhere from  7 to the 22nd power[3] to 10 to the 25th[4] power number of stars. Astronomers admit that it is absolutely impossible to know the exact number of stars.

What makes this so interesting, is that before telescopes, only 3,000 stars could be counted at a time. In other words, it was possible to count all the stars, because no one knew of the additional stars and galaxies that lay beyond the sight of the human eye. Furthermore, the stars were thought in this time to be a fixed eternal presence. Yet, the Biblical prophet of Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 33:22 that the stars of the sky, like the sand of the sea, cannot be measured. Even though in Jeremiah’s time, 600 B.C., the stars had been counted and were known, Jeremiah was informed by God that the exact number will never be known. This further testifies to God’s infinitely superior knowledge over ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), yet God himself does know the number of stars (Psalm 147:4). In a time where the stars were counted and known, Jeremiah through God’ prophecy was informed that the stars are too vast to be measured exactly. A problem we see today, as we have to revise the number of stars we estimate to be out there continually as time goes on.


[1] Werner Gitt, “Counting Stars,” Creation, 19(2):10-13, March 1997.

[2] “How many stars are there in the Universe?” European Space Agency (ESA), http://www.esa.int

[3] “Star survey reaches 70 sextillion,” CNN.com July 2003

[4] Werner Gitt, “Counting Stars,” Creation, 19(2):10-13, March 1997.

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