THE STARS ARE LIKE GRAINS OF SAND….REALLY….We now know how many stars there are in the universe:

The figure — 7 followed by 22 zeros or, more accurately, 70 sextillion — was calculated by a team of stargazers based at the Australian National University.

Speaking at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union meeting in Sydney, Dr Simon Driver said the number was drawn up based on a survey of one strip of sky, rather than trying to count every individual star.

Ah, excellent. I woudn’t have tried to count every individual star either. Especially given this:

The actual number of stars could be infinite he said.

My first thought was that surely no astronomer would actually say something like that, but it turns out he did, sort of:

“This is not the total number of stars in the universe, but it’s the number within range of our telescopes, said Simon Driver of the Australian National University. “The real number could be much, much larger still — some people think it is infinite.”

Who thinks that? Last I heard, the best guess for the number of protons in the universe was 1076. Surely there can’t be more stars than protons, right?