Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 6, 2015

Naming the Stars

V838 Monocerotis

V838 Monocerotis
A variable red supergiant star in the
constellation Monoceros (Unicorn). It is 20,000
light-years away and was first observed in
Jan 2002 due to a light outburst from the star.
After the outburst the Hubble telescope
captured this image of the light echo
illuminating surrounding dust clouds.

The stars of the heavens show forth the glory of God.

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. (Psalms 147:4-5)

How many stars are there? This is a simple question that even a kindergartner can understand, but no man alive can answer it. But Yahweh knows exactly how many stars He made on Creation Day Four about 6,000 years ago. And He calls each individually by name.

The previous blog, He Made the Stars Also, cited a 2010 estimate of
300 sextillion = 3 × 1023 = 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the observable universe. Only God knows how many stars are in the unobservable universe — very possibly there are even more stars in the unobservable universe than in the portion we can observe. God made all these innumerable stars in just one day around 6,000 years ago and placed them in the heavens.

Contrary to what astronomers say, stars do not die. Isaiah gives as evidence of Yahweh’s might and power that not a single star is missing (Isaiah 40:26).

Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda Galaxy
A spiral galaxy with a trillion stars
about 2.5 million light-years away.
Andromeda is more than 220,000 LY
in diameter. (Click image to enlarge.)

Naming the Stars

He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. (Psalms 147:4-5)

Not only did God make all the stars, He also named each of the over 300 sextillion stars.

That’s an astonishing accomplishment, to come up with 300 sextillion unique names without repeats!

It’s not easy to come up with a large quantity of unique names. In the US, three-fourths of the population share a pool of a thousand common names, according to the Social Security Administration.

For example, over the last hundred years, the names James, John, Robert, Michael and William have been used about 4 million times each. In fact, out of about 4 million babies born in the US last year, less than 1% of them (0.625%) got a first name shared by only 25 or fewer other newborns! For surnames, Smith and Johnson are used by 2 million people in the U.S. The next surnames Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller, and Davis each represent more than a million people. (2000 U. S. Census)

How long would the words have to be to give individual names to all the estimated 300 sextillion (3 × 1023) observable stars, using the English alphabet?

There are 26 possible single letter names, 262 possible double letter names, 263 possible triple letter names, and so on. Add up all these numbers
26 + 262 + 263 + … + 26N
to get the total number of possible names ranging from 1 letter long to N letters long.

Summing the geometric series one gets
26 + 262 + 263 + … + 26N = (26N – 26) / 25

How large must N be for this sum to exceed 3 × 1023?
(26N – 26) / 25 >= 3 × 1023
Solving for the minimum whole number N for which this inequality is true,
one gets N = 18.

Thus to name all the observable stars in English with the minimum number of letters, all letter combinations of 17 letters or less plus most of the 18 letter combinations would have to be used.

This would produce many totally unpronounceable letter combinations. If you’ve marveled at some Eastern European surnames, you would be floored by some of the star names. On the other hand, if your name has less than 18 letters, you probably have a star named for you already!

Since it is unlikely that every letter combination of 17 letters or less would be used, there are probably many star names that in English are much longer than 17 letters.

Stephan Quintet

Stephan Quintet
A group of five galaxies sighted by Edouard Stephan in 1877 in the Pegasus constellation. The upper left whitish one is 40 million light-years away; the other four yellowish ones are 290 million ly away – too far for Hubble to resolve individual stars. In the top right galaxy, each red dot just above or to the right is a cluster of many thousands of stars.

No Two Stars Alike

Scripture says that “star differs from star in glory.” (1 Corinthians 15:41) No two stars are the same; every star and galaxy is different. Astronomers have observed many different types of stars and a variety of completely unexplained astral and galactic phenomena.

For example, the red supergiant star V838 Monocerotis (pictured at the top) in the constellation Monoceros (Unicorn) became 10,000 times brighter in one day in February 2002. Nobody knows why or how this happened.

The total energy of all these stars and galaxies is incomprehensible to humans. The power of the Creator is beyond man’s imagination. A Creator whose marvelous works include these stupendous feats of creating, numbering, and naming an unfathomable quantity of gigantic fiery unique stars merits our continual awe, worship, and enthusiastic praise!

Questions to Ponder
  1. What aspect of God’s creative work in making, numbering, and naming the stars is most awe-inspiring to you?
  2. What amazing information about the Creator can you tell someone today?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the prequel:
He Made the Stars Also

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday May 6, 2015 A.D.

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

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Responses

  1. That is perhaps 15 to 20 trillion stars for each person that has ever lived (estimating earth’s population over the last 6000 years). Way beyond mind-boggling!

    Like

    • Good point, Dave. It’s so far beyond mind-boggling that it’s indescribable in English. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Like


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