How many stars are there in the Milky Way?

The Milky Way is our galaxy, where is situated the solar system, which is formed by 8 planets and its moons. However, the solar system is only formed by one star, of small size, between the thousands of millions of other stars that contain the Milky Way.

Even if it is a galaxy that has a similar form than the remaining galaxies that there are in our universe, it is bigger than normal. For this reason, in the Milky Way there are more stars that in other galaxies. In The Milky Way it is calculated that there are between 200 thousands of millions and 400 thousands of millions stars. The most part of these stars, as in any other galaxy, and in our universe, are of a type called red dwarfs, which are the smallest type of stars that it exists, and those that consume their energy the slowest, which provokes that they live more time.

Even if it can seem that 200 thousands of millions of stars in a galaxy must be very close to each other, the truth is that between each star there is an enormous distance, as a galaxy can extend its size onto a distance of 200 000 light years (1,83 x 1018 kilometres of diameter). For example, the star which is the closest to the Earth, apart from the Sun, is at a distance of about 5 light years of distance (the stellar system of Alpha Centauri).

Even so, it is only possible to see a little part of all those stars. The reasons for which we can’t see the total of stars in the Milky Way has different explanations:

Why can’t we see all stars?

  • There are stars that are situated in the other point of the galaxy, and, for consequent, they are too far to be observed at first sight.
  • There are also stars which shine more than others, and then they eclipse those that don’t shine as much.
  • Finally, there are stars that don’t shine too much, and it is for this reason that it doesn’t arrive a big quantity of their light.

However, thanks to the new telescopes, which each time are better and more precise, many other stars can be observed , which it permits to know a bigger number of stars in our galaxy, and also to observe many other galaxies that are very far away from us.

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