Outer Space Poetry Science Stars Time Travel

Are the Stars We See Dead?

Mt Rainer
Milky Way, Mount Rainer. This photo was circulating on FaceBook and comes from the Everything Around the World FaceBook page. Other amazing photos and videos there as well.

Fairly easy question. Appears to be some conflicting data out there. But as always, it’s necessary to ask the right question. So is my question: Are the stars we see dead? Or is my question: Are we looking at a star’s past when we search the skies for answers? Here’s what I found.

Reality #1



Near Star
One of the brightest stars we can see is Rho Cassiopeiae. “Location of Rho Cassiopeiae” by User:Omnidoom 999 – own work, based on the Image Cassiopeia constellation map.png. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – File:Location_of_Rho_Cassiopeiae.png#/media/File:Location_of_Rho_Cassiopeiae.png

The stars that we see are close, relatively close with regards to the vastness of our universe. Now, a curve, all the stars we see are larger and more luminous than our sun. The farther the stars—the smaller and dimmer they are, of course. So, in reality, how close is close? At 60 light years away the sun would be invisible.

At great distances, only the brightest stars can to be seen by the naked eye like Rho Cassiopeiae, which is about 8,200 light years away. The number of the biggest and brightest stars that we see is only about 24 total stars.

Which Brings Me To


We don’t see millions of stars. One source said we see 2,000 to 2,500 stars. Another source put the number at about 6,000. Regardless, that is far less than millions. I prefer to say I see millions or even billions. But then, I’m an individual who writes Science Fiction novels.

Reality# 3—

Stars are born. They live and they die. They are like us in that way. Very poetic, I think.


But they live much, much longer than we earthlings do. So it is highly unlikely that any of the stars we see are dead

But! And this is really, really intriguing


When we look up into that vastness, we see our stars the way they were…once upon a time. Because, though the speed of light is fast, at great distances its speed is not instantaneous. So the search upon which we embark when we look to the stars is a voyage into their past.

A Bit of Poetry

Science Fiction #1—

Time travelers we are all. Move over Dr. Who.

Science Fiction #2—

As a writer of Science Fiction—though I now know the reality, thanks to Astronomers Phil Plait and Larry Sessions, and Wikipedia—I will probably still say, for the sake of the poetry of the language—the stars we see are ghosts.

A Poem

All the talk about stars and their poetry, had me search for just the right poem to end our blog today. Plus, I'm a huge fan of poetry.
All the talk—about stars and their poetry—had me search for just the right poem to end our blog today. Plus, I’m a huge fan of poetry. Hope you like it. 

The Probe’s Mission Statement

author pix
Me and my Silver Bullet, Monsters, Inc. We ain’t afraid of no ghosts, or aliens, or monster. Much.

The Probe is a blog devoted to the exploration of the unexplainable, to finding the truth in occurrences that resemble science fiction, and to researching and reporting on topics that could be flung upon the wall of weird. New posts are featured every week.

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Clara Bush
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2 replies on “Are the Stars We See Dead?”

Are the stars that we are seeing, still there? That is an interesting question. Just in case you thought I would give you an answer, you are wrong.

But I fail to follow your two statements: “The number of the biggest and brightest stars that we see is only about 24 total stars”. “One source said we see 2,000 to 2,500 stars. Another source put the number at about 6,000.” Are you suggesting that all the others that we see are not there anymore?

Hi Ike, Sorry for the confusion. According to my research the biggest and brightest stars that we see are 24 total. Of course, when we look into the sky we see what appears to be millions— at least to me it always did. I was surprised to learn that there are not millions that we see, but somewhere between 2,000 to 6,000—according to whichever source you use. This is far less than millions.I apologize for not making it clear. Hope this clarifies. If not, leave me another comment and I’ll dig a little deeper. Thank you for the question.

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