Are all the visible stars within the Milky Way?

I know there are around 4000 to 5000 visible "stars" (galaxies, comets, stars, planets....) and I also know that the bright band of stars is the Milky Way. It is as if we are sitting on the midde of a frisbee (the galaxy) and looking out at the densest part when we see that band (points ON the frisbee). But what about all the objects that are not in that band? Are they other galaxies of mostly just other stars in our own galaxy that are "above" or "below" the spiral?

15 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, to Jeff S - there are hundreds of images of galaxies that are billions of light years away. The Hubble Telescope and other space-based and surface-based telescopes have imaged objects as far away 780 million light years (some quasars), and the Hubble Ultra Deep Field survey images galaxies 13 billion light years away.

    Other closer galaxies and clusters (like the Virgo Cluster) have been imaged by Hubble and the Keck I and Keck II telescopes in Hawaii.

    But to your question - the stars you see at night are just that - stars in our own galaxy.

    But there are also 3 galaxies visible to the naked eye on Earth.

    The Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away, but is visible in the night sky in the Andromeda constellation as a hazy patch of light about the size of the full moon.

    The Large Magellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud are 2 smaller satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way, and are visible in the southern hemisphere (they are named such because they were first seen and reported by the explorer Magellan on his circumnavigation of the earth).

  • ZikZak
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    All of the stars that are visible are within the Milky Way. They might appear far from the Milky Way band in the sky, because the galaxy is thick... there are still some stars "above" and "below" us although not as many as in the plane of the galaxy.

    You can see objects with the naked eye that are not part of the Galaxy: the Andromeda galaxy, the Pinwheel Galaxy, and the Megallanic Clouds (if you live in the southern hemisphere).

  • Bonbu
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    The band is very thick so the stars we see away from the Milky way are stars of the milky way just less dense. All the independant stars we can see with the naked eye are considered in the this Galaxy. But when stars get together we can see them as as a group. Magelanic Clouds, and Andromena are visible to the naked eye and are seperate Galaxies.

    Stars in between galaxies is pretty rare because gravity keeps everything close. There are of course Globular clusters and black holes around which are loosely assosiated to Galaxies. Collisions happen, stars get flung out in to open space. But as I guide, what we see is our Galaxy

  • 4 years ago

    Visible Stars In The Sky

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  • nick s
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Most of the stars we can see with the naked eye are within 1000 light years. When you consider the galaxy is 100,000 light years across, you realize we see only a tiny portion of it.

    The band of the Milky Way that we see is not resolvable into stars with the naked eye.

    All gaseous nebulae visible with the naked eye and small telescopes are also fairly local with the galaxy.

    Other galaxies (Andromeda is visible with naked eye from the NH, the two Magellenic clouds are small galaxies visible from the SH) are all outside our Milky Way galaxy.

    Source(s): Science author
  • 1 decade ago

    All of the stars we can see with the *naked eye* are within the Milky Way Galaxy. Other stars can be viewed in other galaxies with powerful telescopes.

    The farthest object the naked eye can see is the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) which is about 2.2-million light years away.

    Also there are galaxies moving *towards* ours, the largest is M31 which is rushing towards us at about 186 miles/second. One responder to your question said that *all* galaxies were moving away, but that's not strictly true. The Milky Way is a member of a group of galaxies (..called the Local Group..) and within it there are motions towards and away from us. On the much larger scale of the universe, all major galactic assemblages are moving apart.

  • 1 decade ago

    All the stars you can see are placed in our galaxy and you can't see all stars in our galaxy....

    For what I know there is only 1 exception, the andromeda galaxy is the only extra-galactic object you can see with naked eye (it's not so easy to see, you need to know where to look at and have a quite good sight, I wear glasses and I could see it not so clearly)

    and if it's so difficoult to see an entire galaxy(quite big and really near to our galaxy) imagine a single star...impossible...and if you consider that you can't see also a lot of stars in our galaxy...

    About the stars not placed in the "band" of the milky way, it's exactly how you wrote, you can see these stars in the direction of the thickness of the "disk" of our galaxy....and this is the reason why in these zones stars are not so dense.

  • Brant
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Yes, all the visible stars are in the Milky Way. It takes a huge telescope and long time exposures to resolve stars in other galaxies. In fact, the farthest star we can see with the naked eye under the best of conditions is probably epsilon Aurigae-A, which is almost 8000 light years away. But our galaxy is more than ten times that in diameter.

  • Gary
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    There are other galaxies, in every direction. The Milky Way galaxy is the galaxy we are in, but we can see the Magellanic Clouds, which are small galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy, the Triangulum galaxy, and many other galaxies with telescopes.

  • A galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system consisting of stars; a typical galaxy might contain as few as ten million stars up to one trillion stars, all orbiting a common center of mass. We see the source of light from the stars of a galaxy. Milky Way is the galaxy that our Solar System resides in but all the visible stars - those we can see in naked eye - are not only in Milky Way but we can even see stars from other galaxies too viz. Andromeda Galaxy.

    So Milky Way is not only the galaxy with all visible stars; there are many visible stars too from other galaxies.

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