Are There More Grains of Sand Than Stars?

[SIZE=6]Are There More Grains of Sand Than Stars?[/SIZE]

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https://secure-gravatar-com.cdn.ampproject.org/ii/w82/s/secure.gravatar.com/avatar/133873b33f21832bb5c9a376eb278117?s=24&d=mm&r=g Fraser Cain

3 years ago

Categories: Guide to Space

Tags: stars
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[I]https://i.ytimg.com/vi/AbgcITHmXBI/sddefault.jpg#404_is_fine

This question comes from Sheldon Grimshaw. “I’ve heard that there are more stars in our Universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth. Is this possible?” Awesome question, and a great excuse to do some math.

As we learned in a previous video, there are 100 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way and more than 100 billion galaxies in the Universe – maybe as many as 500 billion. If you multiply stars by galaxies, at the low end, you get 10 billion billion stars, or 10 sextillion stars in the Universe – a 1 followed by 22 zeros. At the high end, it’s 200 sextillion.

These are mind bogglingly huge numbers. How do they compare to the number of grains of sand on the collective beaches of an entire planet? This type of sand measures about a half millimeter across.

You could put 20 grains of sand packed in side-by-side to make a centimeter. 8000 grains in one cubic centimeter. If you took 10 sextillion grains of sand, put them into a ball, it would have a radius of 10.6 kilometers. And for the high end of our estimate, 200 sextillion, it would be 72 kilometers across. If we had a sphere bigger than the Earth, it would be an easy answer, but no such luck. This might be close.

So, is there that much sand on all the beaches, everywhere, on this planet? You’d need to estimate the average volume of a sandy beach and the average amount of the world’s coastlines which are beaches.

I’m going to follow the estimates and calculations made by Dr. Jason Marshall, aka, the Math Dude. According to Jason, there about 700 trillion cubic meters of beach of Earth, and that works out to around 5 sextillion grains of sand.

Jason reminds us that his math is a rough estimate, and he could be off by a factor of 2 either way. So it could be 2.5 sextillion or there could be 10 sextillion grains of sand on all the world’s beaches.

So, if the low end estimate for the number of stars matches the high end estimate for the number of grains of sand, it’s the same. But more likely, there are 5 to 10 times more stars than there are grains of sand on all the world’s beaches.

So, there’s your answer, Sheldon. For some “back of the napkin” math we can guess that there are more stars in our Universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth.

Oh, one more thing. Instead of grains of sand, what about atoms? How big is 10 sextillion atoms? How huge would something with that massive quantity of anything be? Pretty gigantic. Well, relatively at least. 10 sextillion of anything does sound like a whole lot.

If you were to make a pile of that many atoms… guess how big it would be. It’d be about…. (gesture big then gesture small) 4 times smaller than a dust mite. Which means, a single grain of sand has more atoms than there are stars in the Universe[/I]

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[SIZE=6]Which Is Greater, The Number Of Sand Grains On Earth Or Stars In The Sky?[/SIZE]

September 17, 201210:19 AM ET
ROBERT KRULWICH

Here’s an old, old, question, but this time with a surprise twist. The question is — and I bet you asked it when you were 8 years old and sitting on a beach: Which are there more of — grains of sand on the Earth or stars in the sky?

Obviously, grains and stars can’t be counted, not literally. But you can guestimate.

Science writer David Blatner, in his new book Spectrums, says a group of researchers at the University of Hawaii, being well-versed in all things beachy, tried to calculate the number of grains of sand.

http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2012/09/13/6855916100_7c475796f3_b-30181951c4cd30708afa145ce7ec026266caeaea-s800-c85.jpg

Emilian Robert Vicol via Flickr
They said, if you assume a grain of sand has an average size and you calculate how many grains are in a teaspoon and then multiply by all the beaches and deserts in the world, the Earth has roughly (and we’re speaking very roughly here) 7.5 x 1018 grains of sand, or seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains.

That’s a lot of grains.

http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2012/09/13/680632main_m56full-461ab9c093b6e1de01303aaf1de5528076b193cb-s800-c85.jpg

Gilles Chapdelaine/NASA & ESA
OK, so how about stars? Well, to my amazement, it turns out that when you look up, even on a clear and starry night, you won’t see very many stars. Blatner says the number is a low, low “several thousand,” which gives the sand grain folks a landslide victory. But we’re not limiting ourselves to what an ordinary stargazer can see.

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Plinkk via Flickr
Say what?

Let me repeat: If you took 10 drops of water (not extra-big drops, just regular drops, I’m presuming) and counted the number of H2O molecules in those drops, you’d get a number equal to all the stars in the universe.

This is amazing to me. For some reason, when someone says million, billion or trillion, I see an enormous pile of something, a grand scene, great sweeps of desert sand, twirling masses of stars. Big things come from lots of stuff; little things from less stuff. That seems intuitive.

But that’s wrong. Little things, if they’re really little, can pile up just like big things, and yes, says Blatner, water molecules “really are that small.”

So next time I look up at the sky at all those stars, I will be impressed, of course, by the great numbers that are out there. But I will remind myself that at the other end of the scale, in the nooks and crannies of the physical world, in the teeniest of places, there are equally vast numbers of teenier things.

We are surrounded by vastness, high and low, and either way, as Blatner’s book says, we “can’t handle the biggitude.”

methinks the number is the same…with God u don’t need to look far

Maybe we live in a container 1 metre wide and everything else is an illusion. Note that i am not limiting it to an optical illusion.

Na kama sisi ni computer code? Si biblia husema mungu anajua kila kitu? So he coded us, like in the Matrix, and all we are is just a game!

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yeah, n the simple reason, in my view, is He is part n parcel of everything…as in u cannot separate God from His creation, it is just not possible. walisema ni mwanzo na mwisho

Can you pinpoint the beginning?

nope, God is one…hana haraka coz He’s under no pressure to rush anything nor to please anyone, we cannot separate our minds from this one God, assume u r alone…can u think of anything else?

There are thousands of gods on earth alone,which one are you talking about? Not forgetting other planets in their billions may be having civilizations with different beliefs or maybe aware of the truth unlike us earthlings. All is a mystery.

Sex… The only thing @Kihii Kiaganu has see in the article.

Alisahau sahara desert!