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A Carl Sagan Moment: A Billion More Stars

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“Billions upon billions of stars,” Carl Sagan used to say. Well, due to a new way of calculating the number of stars above us, it looks like there may be a BILLION more of them than was previously thought:

Ever try to count all the stars in the sky? Don’t. Scientists recently announced that there may be a billion (that’s with a “b”) more stars out there than they originally thought.

A buzzy article from the Discovery News explains that astronomers “may have underestimated the tally of galaxies in some parts of the universe by as much as 90 percent.”

How could sky watchers have missed so many stars? Apparently, astronomers rely on ultraviolet light signatures to determine the number of stars in the cosmos. But that might not be the most accurate way to go about conducting a census of the universe. “In the case of very distant, old galaxies, the telltale light may not reach Earth as it is blocked by interstellar clouds of dust and gas — and, as a result, these galaxies are missed by the map-makers.” The story inspired a slew of searches on everything from “how many stars in the sky” to “how to count stars.”

That epic miscalculation was only one of several space-related stories making news. Also soaring to the top of the Buzz: A homemade helium balloon and camera that captures images from the edge of space. Brit Robert Harrison’s homemade device can soar 20 miles above the earth. The photos it takes are incredibly impressive. So impressive, in fact, that NASA reportedly got in touch with the father of three. They apparently told him that the space agency would have had to have spend millions of dollars to get similar results. Harrison’s budget was a comparatively modest $815

Here’s the rest of the story:
a billion more stars

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2 thoughts on “A Carl Sagan Moment: A Billion More Stars

  1. Hello. Good post. But FYI, Carl Sagan never said ‘billions and billions,’ at least not till Johnny Carson did. You can read more here: http://twitter.com/CelebrateSagan/status/9480476468

    Have a great weekend.

    • Thanks for pointing that out. Johnny Carson LOVED Sagan and I enjoyed watching Sagan on his show…and Carson’s teasing Sagan about “billions and billions.”

      I recall Carson making fun of McDonald’s for much the same reason, something long the lines of “McDonald’s just purchased a pound of beef–that’ll be enough for another billion hamburgers.”

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