How many stars and galaxies can be seen by the naked eye?

  • How many of the luminous dots that we see naked are galaxies and not stars from our galaxy?

    I imagine that the majority of the luminous points that we see naked eye during the night, are actually stars from our galaxy. But how many of them are other objects (other galaxies, nebula, etc.), excluding planets from our Solar System?

    Ok, Il'll try there. I thought it was inactive, since it is beta and has only 317 questions. I also read on area51 that the previous astronomy Q&A site had been closed and that astronomy questions had been merged into this site.

    By the way, for clarity's sake, we are not an inactive site per se. We have slowed down substantially, but we are in that developmental phase that many beta sites experience where the initial activity has slowed and we are in need of people like you to come and ask great questions!

    Wow. The answer came at the speed of light. Sorry for having considered this site inactive. Thanks!

  • In the best sky conditions, the naked eye (with effort) can see objects with an apparent magnitude of 8.0. This reveals about 43,197 objects in the sky.

    There are 9 galaxies visible to the naked eye that you might see when observing the sky, and there are about 13 nebulae that you might see.


    Under typical dark sky conditions, the limit is about 6.0. 8.0 would require extraordinary conditions (and much better eyes than mine). The only galaxies visible to the naked eye in normal conditions (outside our own) are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, M31 (Andromeda), and M33 (Triangulum). There are only sporadic reports of other galaxies being seen by the naked eye. (There's some argument that Omega Centauri is a galaxy rather than a globular cluster.) Reference:

    @KeithThompson Right, there's more on that in my linked sources. The OP asked "how many" which is a question which often looks for the maximum extent. So I answered with the most possible that could be viewed.

    I would like to add the obvious that most of the stars we see are bright luminous stars and in no way represents the majority of stars in the galaxy or even the nearby solar neighborhood.

    Thoughts on including an estimated star count, as well? See Sky & Telescope, Earth Sky, and UBC Astronomy Club for details.

    @InjamulMohammadMollah re " case anyone visits" one of the nice side effects of edits is that they bump a question back into the active queue, so folks will definitely now visit. Welcome to Astronomy SE!

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM