Our Sun is just one star out of 300 sextillion

There could be as many as 300 sextillion stars. Want to write that down? It’s a 3 followed by 23 zeroes. Like this:

300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

The research, led by Yale astronomer Pieter van Dokkum, is being published by the journal Nature. In an interview with Space.com, von Dokkum said the findings are based on data gathered when the researchers were analyzing “red dwarfs” — stars that are dimmer than our sun and much smaller.

The “faint signatures” of those red dwarfs in eight galaxies “located between about 50 million and 300 million light-years away,” led to the new calculation of how many stars are out there.

“There are possibly trillions of Earths orbiting these stars,” van Dokkum said. He added that the red dwarfs they discovered, which are typically more than 10 billion years old, have been around long enough for complex life to evolve. “It’s one reason why people are interested in this type of star.”

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