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How many stars are there? And who makes them shine?

Stars are always and everywhere in the sky, but often the view of them is clouded. Clouds can impair our view, but artificial light in particular is a disturbing factor. What can be done to make more stars shine in the sky again? There are committed people who are doing just that.
Wieviele Sterne gibt es – Auf diesem Bild vom Berg Hochtor sind Tausende zu sehen.
How many stars are there - Above the Hochtor there are quite a few. © Simone Jungwirth

How many stars are there?

"Do you know how many stars there are?" is often asked in a well-known children's song. Our home galaxy alone, the Milky Way, consists of 200 billion stars. If we now imagine that there are 100 billion known galaxies alone, this incredibly large number quickly exceeds our imagination. And in fact, no one really knows how many stars there really are.

But how many stars are there that we can see with the naked eye? You can choose the answer, says Florian Freistetter, astronomer, author and science cabaret artist, in his podcast Sternengeschichten: "From 35 to 100 quadrillion, everything is possible". In most German cities, only the brightest 35 stars would be visible, because the pollution of the sky by artificial light is enormous here. On starry nights in areas without light pollution, such as in a star park, there might be between 2,000 and 5,000 stars. A similar estimate was reached by the Sterngucker from the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation.

Looking at the stars inspires people

Why sleeping outdoors makes you so happy, I have already described. But why does looking at the starry sky fill many with happiness? For me, looking up at the starry sky evokes a feeling of awe. The infinite size of the universe gives me the freedom to dream, because the problems of everyday life seem very small and manageable in comparison and do not stand in the way of my dreams. I often ask the stars in my thoughts for support for my plans, external wishes and also thank them for wishes that have come true. If you like, looking at the starry sky is a kind of meditation for me. Translated with (free version)

Mit meinen tief emotionalen Eindrücken bin ich nicht alleine. Für Simone Jungwirth ist der Blick in Sterne die Rückbesinnung darauf, dass wir Teil eines großen Ganzen sind. »Unter einem Himmel voller Sterne lässt sich das für mich ganz eindrucksvoll erfahren. Jedes Mal wieder ergreift mich diese Magie eines wirklich dunklen Nachthimmels mit Milliarden von Sternen.« Die Österreicherin hat ihre Faszination für den Sternenhimmel 2019 bei einer Sternenführung in einem der dunkelsten Regionen Österreichs, dem Nationalpark Gesäuse, wiederentdeckt. Seitdem beschäftigt sie sich mit Astronomie und mit Nachthimmel-Fotografie und hat unzählige bewegende Nächte unter freiem Himmel verbracht.

For Simone, the starry sky is a unifying element for people. The stars evoke a feeling of peace and charity in her, which motivates her to protect the environment and work for nature.

Uncovering the starry sky again

This was also her motivation to get involved at the Godfathers of the Night . For there are people who have made it their goal to free the starry sky from the artificial light of civilisation, so that we can once again enjoy the view of a starry night sky more often. The Godfathers of the Night is an initiative of people in Germany and Austria who are working together to impart knowledge and raise awareness around the issue of light pollution.

The initiative explains to municipalities, companies and private individuals what light pollution is and how everyone can help to reduce it. "Using light only in places and at times where it is really needed, or shielding light sources and using warm white light, are just two measures that usually require little effort and can make a great deal of difference." After all, to avoid illuminating the night sky, we don't have to switch off all the lights on Earth. There have long been luminaires that let the light shine where we really need it: onto the earth and not into space. Translated with (free version)

Support godfathers of the night

The Godfathers of the Night want to make the stars shine again. Of course, we want to support this commitment with SkyHeia, because sleeping outside is especially beautiful with a starry night sky. Since 22.02.2022, we have been official supporters of the Godfathers of the Night and are very confident that this initiative will raise awareness for the correct use of artificial light and that more people will enjoy a starry night in the future.

PS: Thanks to Simone Jungwirth for the stunning night picture. More pictures can be found on her Instagram account @nachthaltig.

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