I saw reports that only Andromeda Galaxy and Big/Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy stars could be visible with the naked eye (how many stars would be from them out of a few thousand visible?)

This question appeared because there are some very "sparse" galaxies (very few stars in them) and scientists say night sky in them is practically all black (starless)...

So is it true that 99,9% visible stars in the night sky (naked eye) are from the Milky Way only?

  • $\begingroup$ Far more as 99%, most likely you couldn't even see the Andromeda galaxy with free eyes... $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Jun 8, 2018 at 23:45

1 Answer 1


Stars in other galaxies are too dim for our eyes to see them as individual points of light. The brightest stars in the Magellanic clouds are magnitude 10, and we can only see magnitude 6 stars (bigger magnitude means dimmer)

So instead we see the Magellanic Clouds and the Andromeda galaxy as patches of light. The galaxy is visible, but its individual stars are not. The only time a "star" was visible in the Large Magellanic cloud was a supernova in 1987.

In a very sparse galaxy the night sky would be very dark, with few visible stars. Other galaxies might be visible, but they would be dim patches of light.

100% of the naked-eye stars you see are in the Milky Way. You can see Andromeda, but you can't see any individual stars in it.


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