Astronomy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for astronomers and astrophysicists. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

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?

share|improve this question

migrated from Nov 26 '13 at 15:08

This question came from our site for active researchers, academics and students of physics.

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. – Mario Stefanutti Nov 26 '13 at 15:06
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! – called2voyage Nov 26 '13 at 16:47
Wow. The answer came at the speed of light. Sorry for having considered this site inactive. Thanks! – Mario Stefanutti Nov 26 '13 at 17:12
up vote 7 down vote accepted

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.


share|improve this answer
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: – Keith Thompson Nov 27 '13 at 16:24
@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. – called2voyage Nov 27 '13 at 17:30

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.