Can I see more stars from space?

Can I see more stars from space?

Can I see more stars from space?

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
July 20 2008 11:14 PM

Can I see more stars from space?

In the live video chat over the weekend, I was asked a GREAT question: can you see more stars from a high altitude, like say from an airplane? This is a common question, and it makes the assumption that the Earth's atmosphere absorbs starlight; so if you go up high enough you'll see lots more stars.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Turns out, not so much. Here's why:

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If you're curious, the image I put in the video from Hubble is reproduced below, but you really need to go take a look at the high-res version. It's not color, but it's still very cool.

The deepest image ever taken, using STIS on Hubble

Also, the beautiful image of Orion is from J P Stanley's Flickr set (reproduced under Creative Commons licensing, so if you like his picture go show him some love on Flickr).