I got another good one from Jenny! She asked, “Why are there so many stars?” My answer is coming very quickly this time: I don’t know! So I’m going to try and answer a different question instead: How many stars are out there? Most of the numbers in this answer are guesses. It’s pretty close to Jenny’s question, so let’s see how it goes!
We are going to start very close to home this time, and get bigger and bigger. First, your house. It’s probably pretty big! But, what about Hangzhou? That’s a lot bigger than your house. Then, China. Again, that’s a whole lot bigger. Then Asia. Then the Earth. Then the Solar System (so-ler sis-tem). The Solar System is our sun and the 8 planets around it. Earth is just one of those planets. So that’s extremely big, right?
Wrong. It’s still a tiny, tiny part. Outside of our Solar System, we are part of a galaxy (gal-ax-ee). The name of our galaxy is Milky Way. After that, our galaxy is part of the universe (you-ni-vers). The universe is everything that we know about. EVERYTHING. Some astronomers (ass-tron-a-mer) think that there is still more after the universe, but we just don’t know about it and can’t see it yet. Astronomers are people who study space.
Now let’s get to the numbers! I bet you know how many stars are in our Solar System, right? Yep, one. The sun is a star. In just our galaxy, the Milky Way, some astronomers guess that there are 100,000,000,000 stars. 100 billion. Insane. And other astronomers think there are more. But we aren’t finished yet. The Milky Way has a crazy number of stars, but there are also a crazy number of other galaxies in the universe.
Wow. Those astronomers really like big numbers. They think there are maybe 10,000,000,000,000 galaxies out there. Ten trillion galaxies. So if we put these two silly numbers together… we get a guess of about…
…in our universe. I didn’t even know how to say that number, but I looked it up. It’s 100 octillion. How many can you count? Good luck!