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Estimation of number of stars in the Universe

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    7th Jun, 2021


A NASA-funded rocket’s launch window will open at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, USA. The aim of this mission is to count the number of stars that exist in the Universe.

  • CIBER-2 instrument will assist during it.

About CIBER-2

  • Assumption: On average each galaxy consists of about 100 million stars, but this figure is not exact. The figure of 100 million could easily be an underestimation, probably by a factor of 10 or more.
    • To put this into perspective, an average of 100 million stars in each galaxy (there an estimated 2 trillion of them as per NASA), would give a total figure of one hundred quintillion stars or 1 with 21 zeroes after it.
    • NASA notes that if this figure is accurate it would mean that for every grain of sand on Earth, there are more than ten stars.
  • CIBER-2 instrument will try to find it out.

How  CIBER-2 instrument will work?

  • This instrument will launch aboard a sounding rocket, a small suborbital rocket that will carry scientific instruments on brief trips into space before it falls back to Earth for recovery.
  • From all of the extragalactic background light, the CIBER-2 will focus on a portion of this called cosmic infrared background, which is emitted by some of the most common stars.
  • This approach is aiming to look at how bright this light is to give scientists an estimate of how many of these stars are out there.

Cosmic InfraRed Background Radiation

  • The Cosmic InfraRed Background (CIRB) is the radiation from stars in many faint galaxies.
  • It is what is left over after emission from our Solar System and our Galaxy has been subtracted away.