Sweet Baboo decided a few weeks ago that Netflix would fill a yawning hole in our viewing pleasure.   Being a self-proclaimed documentary loving geek, I totally agreed and voila, we signed up.

Immediately, I started queuing up space and universe documentaries. Total heaven!!  LOVE those shows and in HD they’re even better. Maybe it’s because I was watching so many that a lot of what was being said actually stuck with me.

And this just boggles my mind.

When you look up at the night sky, you will see about 2,500 stars with the naked eye at any point anywhere on earth.  There are about 5800 to 8000 visible stars total. However, astronomers estimate that there are about 200 BILLION stars contained within our galaxy, The Milky Way.  This is an artist’s rendition , of course.  But still.  It’s a pretty spiral galaxy, isn’t it?

So, 200 or so billion stars in our galaxy, which is actually an average sized  galaxy.  Dwarf galaxies can have as little as 10 million or so stars, and gigantic mega monstrous galaxies can have as many as 10 trillion.

And how many galaxies are there? Conservative estimates are placed at between 100 and 200 billion.  Other estimates put it at around 500 billion.

And with these numbers in mind, a rough estimate of stars in the universe are set at 10 sextillion  and 1 septillion stars.  Lottsa stars.  Uber stars. More than we can ever count. Kinda makes you step back and think, doesn’t it?

I used Universe Today with all of their fabulous articles to assemble the facts that I’ve listed.  It’s a great resource for anything space or universe related.  I like to get lost in their pages — I never know where I’ll end up. (No pun intended!)


Sunday Scribblings #87 – Walk


It’s amusing how one word can free associate into a memory.

I have lived in Connecticut since 1980, roughly half my life. I’ve come to think of it as home, but I also think of my life before 1980 as “back home”. The truth is, I really miss back home — especially the Adirondack Mountains. Growing up, they were just always there and I didn’t think much of them. You could always see them if you looked “up south” as my grandfather used to say.

I always had a hard time explaining to Sweet Baboo why I loved it parts of it so much up there, when there were also a lot of parts that I hated. The weather in the winter was abysmal (-35° was not an unusual temperature in January), the area was not near any kind of cultural or educational complexes, the nearest interstate highway was about 45 miles away, family issues.

All of that aside, one of my favorite places was Lake Meacham, smack dab in the middle of the Adirondack Park. My grandparents spent their summers there — the lake area was being developed back in the ’60’s and Grandpa worked there clearing land and building campsites and picnic tables to go with them. It was a place that had no bad memories for me. My worst memory of the lake was that 9 times out of 10 when I visited my grandparents, it rained. For the entire week I was there. For several years. No kidding.

Ten years ago, my graduating high school class had a class reunion. Sweet Baboo and I decided that we would bring our camping gear and stay at Lake Meacham, since he had heard so much about it from me. I warned him that it would rain. And it did.

We attended the reunion, then headed back up south to our campsite after we had picked up some coffee to go. At least that night, it wasn’t raining. It was actually clearing!

Arriving at the lake, I told SB that we should go for a walk. We walked slowly down the road, sipping our coffee and talking softly to each other. We veered onto a path that would take uslake down to the lake. A flashlight badly in need of a charged battery lit our way. Sort of. We held onto each other so as not to fall, because there is no place darker than an Adirondack lake when there is no moon. Moments later, we came out of the trees and onto the little sand beach that surrounds the lake. Looking up, SB saw the Milky Way clearly for the first time. No moon, no clouds and the star canopy reached down to the horizon. You could practically hear the stars twinkling. I believe the words “wow” and “incredible” were used extensively that night. And now, because he and I took that little walk, he understands part of what it is that I miss from the ‘Dacks.

milky way



If you would like read more about walking, click here for Sunday Scribblings.