How big are things in the universe?

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How big are things in the universe?
Age Range all ages
Group Size medium (6-20)
Setting indoors, outdoors
Setup Time short (0-5 min)
Duration short (5-10 min)
Subjects astronomy, light
Key terms light speed, galaxy, alpha centauri, milky way
Materials none
Presentation Style lecture

Brief Description

These are simply some facts about how big some things are in the universe.

Scientific Background

All of these facts are approximations:

  • Number of stars in the milky way: 400,000,000,000
  • Number of galaxies in the universe: 400,000,000,000
  • Speed of Sound: 700 mph
  • Speed of Light: 670,000,000 mph
  • Light years to Alpha Centauri: 4.37 light years
  • Years to Alpha Centauri on Space Shuttle: 200,000 years
  • Width of Milky Way Galaxy: 100,000 light years across
  • Numbers of stars in the universe: 160,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (you can also say 160 septillion)


  • Did you know that if you filled up a standard olympic-sized swimming pool with sand, and counted each grain of sand, that would be approximately how many stars are in our Milky Way Galaxy
  • Did you know there are most stars in the universe than there is sand on all the beaches on Earth?

This Is How You Play

There is not an activity- just a list of facts.


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