How Many Stars Can We See at Night?

"Countless as the stars at night." This as the stars at night." This is the impression we get of the sky when we look up at night and see the stars. But in may surprise you to know that only about 6,000 stars can be seen without a telescope.

That does not mean a person can look up and count 6,000 stars. Because one-fourth of these 6,000 stars are too far south to be visible in Western Europe. And of the stars that can be seen from any one place on earth, only one-half are visible at on time as the others are below the horizon.

What’s more, many of the stars near the horizon cannot be seen because of haze. So what do we end up with? If you started to count the stars that you could see, you would probably not be able to count many more than 1,000. Photographs can be taken of the same sky by a camera attached to a telescope.


Many more stars can be counted on a photograph of a particular spot in the sky than the unaided eye can see there. And with a time exposure, even more stars will be added. Finally, by using a very powerful telescope, it would be possible to photograph more than 1,000,000,000 stars! when a star is noticed in the sky it must be given a name or an identification number.   

Long ago, people in many lands—the Arabs, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Chinese—gave names to be brightest stars and to other stars that were in some way remarkable. More than 100 stars were given names.

And man has wanted to have a catalogue of the stars that were known. The first known stars catalogue of the stars lists more than 457,000 stars!

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