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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?

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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 5 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.


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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

Most of the answers I've read to this question seem to come from people that don't have all the facts. If you were to look at our Sun from Pluto, it would look like just another star in the sky. stars have a limit on how far away they can be seen. Most of the stars in our own galaxy are too far away to be seen with the naked eye. what you see in the sky at night are mostly galaxies and nebulae. This is only because of their tremendous size. Most galaxies have several trillion stars in them and that's why you can see them from so far away. The distances we are talking about are beyond the comprehension of most people.

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This is just plain wrong, and your first sentence is self-inflicted. The Sun is a star. It doesn't matter how big it appears on the sky, it's still a star. So that's one. From Earth, Pluto, or Eta Eridani. From Earth tho, most what you can see on the night sky with a naked eye, as per the question, are stars in the Milky Way, our own galaxy. On a clear night, it's possible to see some galaxies, on Northern skies mostly those starting with M for Messier. And you might find you'll see more planets that other galaxies. And maybe one moon, some satellites, shooting stars, airplanes,... – TildalWave Apr 12 '15 at 10:00
I don't think this is deleteable because it technically answers the question, but it's still completely wrong. – HDE 226868 Apr 12 '15 at 13:29

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