More stars in the heavens than grains of sand on earth…

“So how many grains of sand are there in the world? You could start off by trying to guess how many grains of sand there are in a spoon of sand. Use a magnifying glass to count how many grains fit in a small section. Then, count how many of those sections fit in your spoon. Multiply the two numbers together to get an estimate.

“Using this same principle, plus some additional information, mathematicians at the University of Hawaii tried to guess how many grains of sand are on the world’s beaches. They came up with 7,500,000,000,000,000,000, or seven quintillion five quadrillion grains of sand.”

The calculation is detailed here:

That number is 7.5 x 10^18 or 7.5 billion billion.

How many stars, galaxies, clusters, QSO’s etc. in the Universe?

“To get the total stellar population in the Milky Way [that is, in our galaxy alone], we must take the number of luminous stars that we can see at large distances and assume that we know how many fainter stars go along with them. Recent numbers give about 400,000,000,000 (400 billion) stars, but a 50% error either way is quite plausible.”

So in our galaxy alone, there might be between 2 x 10^11 and 6 x 10^11 stars

How many galaxies in the Universe?

“The Hubble telescope is capable of detecting about 80 billion galaxies. 

In fact, there must be many more than this, even within the observable Universe, since the most common kind of galaxy in our own neighborhood is the faint dwarfs which are difficult enough to see nearby, much less at large cosmological distances. For example, in our own local group, there are 3 or 4 giant galaxies which would be detectable at a billion light-years or more (Andromeda, the Milky Way, the Pinwheel in Triangulum, and maybe the Large Magellanic Cloud). However, there are at least another 20 faint members, which would be difficult to find at 100 million light-years, much less the billions of light years to which the brightest galaxies can be seen.”

So the lower end estimate for the number of galaxies is 8 x 10^10

If we accept even the lower end of these Hubble figures, and if our Milky Way has a typical number of stars in it, that puts the number of stars in the universe to be at least (2 x 10^11) x (8 x 10^10) = 16 x 10^ 21

So if we round the number of sand grains to, say, 10^20 and round the number of stars to, say 10^22 then there are at least 100 stars in the universe for every grain of sand on earth.


Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 

-Ecclesiastes 3:11

He created the stars and calls them each by name. 

-Psalms 147:4

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. 

–Luke 12:7

Posted on March 9, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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