There are roughly 300 billion stars in the Milky Way, but only 2,500 stars are available to the unaided eye in ideal conditions from a single spot at a given time. Light pollution in cities and suburbs throttles the number down dramatically: in New York, as few as two dozen stars are visible.
Almost all of the sky objects visible to the naked eye are stars that reside in our galaxy. The bulk of those you can see are relatively nearby, within a few thousand light-years. Most are actually within a few hundred light-years. For comparison, the Sun is about 26,000 light-years from the galactic center; the galaxy itself is about 100,000 light-years wide.
What's Really Visible at Night
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