Matador Network
Matador Network is the web’s largest travel magazine. Our fast growing community includes independent travelers, as well as athletes, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers we sponsor to produce original investigative works. Our mission is to empower, connect, and feature travelers promoting culture, conservation, and sustainability around the world.

The #MilkyWay over #NewZealand. Photo by #MatadorN Ambassador @shawnreeder. #Travelstoke!

#nightphotography #stars #nightsky #travel #matadoru

Goodnight, from the Machame Route on the Kilimanjaro trail. Another amazing shot from #MatadorN reader @tanveerbadal. #Travelstoke!

#outdoors #kilimanjaro #camping #nightphotography #stars #lensflare #longexposure

Great night shot by #MatadorN reader @the3rdbobert from #Redwood National Park. #Travelstoke!

#nightphotography #stars #nightsky #light #lightpainting #longexposure #nature #travel

#MatadorN reader @deleighhermes posted this stunning night shot while camping by #DelicateArch in #ArchesNationalPark. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!

#nightphotography #landscape #longexposure #stars #nightsky #milkyway #utah #camping #travel #adventure #nature

#MatadorN reader @smwfilms doing some “cosmic camping” at Lake Sonoma’s Liberty Glen Campground. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!

#nightphotography #milkyway #stars #nightsky #camping #lakesonoma #longexposure #travel

4 mind-blowing facts about stars

1. There are an unfathomable number of stars in the observable universe.

So you know when you’re in a rural area at night and the moon isn’t visible and you can see a ton of stars? In those optimal circumstances, you’re looking at around 2,500 stars at most. That’s about 1/100,000,000th of the total stars just in our own galaxy.

Speaking of which, take another look above at our gorgeous Milky Way. To help understand just how insanely big it is, here are a few facts:

  • The diameter of the Milky Way is 100,000 light years. A light year is the distance light travels in a year. Considering light can travel around the Earth seven times in a second, a light year is a mind-bogglingly large distance. It would take our fastest spacecraft 18,000 years to travel one light year. And with the Milky Way, we’re talking about 100,000 of them.
  • That also means that if you use a telescope to see a star on the far side of the galaxy, you’re actually seeing what the star looked like 100,000 years ago, since the light that left the star then is just reaching us now. Likewise, if at this moment, someone on the other side of the galaxy is checking out the Earth with a telescope, they’ll see a bunch of early humans and Neanderthals running around clubbing each other like fools.
  • You might think that when you look closely at that above picture of the Milky Way, one of those little dots might be our sun. In fact, if you expanded the above photo to be the size of the Earth, you’d still need a microscope to be able to see our pinprick of a sun — if the Milky Way were the size of the Earth, the sun would be about 1/50th of a millimeter in diameter.

Continue.

Double Arch and Milky Way at Arches National Park in Utah. Photo by snowpeak. #nightphotography #stars #milkyway #landscape #archesnationalpark #utah #nature #travel #matadorn #travelstoke

White Pocket with stars. Photo by John Fowler in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona. #nightphotography #stars #arizona #desert #nature #travelstoke #matadorn

Another epic shot from Tuesday night in #Alaska by #MatadorN Creative Director @spoart! #TRAVELSTOKE #nightsky #nightphotography #auroraborealis #colors #stars