from Yahoo.com in the UK. The universe may perhaps be infinite,
but we have no way of knowing if that is so, and so we can only sensibly
discuss "the observable universe", i.e. what we can see.
Then your question becomes meaningful.
To answer "innumerable" atoms exist in an infinite universe
doesn't really tell us anything new. It is a tautology, saying the
same thing twice.
When I was 11, I wondered about space and asked the same question,
and the answer I was given was "about 10^78", accompanied
with the thought that that might seem like a very big number but the
number of possible 40-move chess games has been estimated as being
The person who answered 10^80 above is in the same league, as what
I was told was the case. Let's try to re-examine the figures and see
if they look right.
Obviously 10^78 is just an estimate, but it sounds about right if
the number of stars in the observable universe is estimated to be
70 sextillion (7 x 10^22) That would mean about 1.5 x 10^55 atoms
in the average star and stellar system (planets, asteroids, comets
The Sun's mass is 2 x 10^30 kgs.
About 3.4×10^38 protons (hydrogen nuclei) are converted into
helium nuclei every second (out of about ~8.9×10^56 total amount
of free protons in the Sun),
So that sounds like an argument for 10^80 (10^23 stars x 10^57 hydrogen
nuclei) if the Sun is typical of all other stars, But 78% of stars
are low-mass red dwarfs so it looks like the Sun is probably above
average in its mass and the number of atoms it contains and in which
case the number of atoms in the universe may be nearer to 10^78 than
it is to 10^80.
However, 10^78 might have to be revised upwards to take account of
dark matter. So as you can see, there are a number of issues involved
in a reliable guestimate being made.
The following features emerge from this analysis so far:
(a) the vast majority (99%+) of atoms are in stars not in planets
(b) matter in stars is a plasma of free protons rather than separate
hydrogen atoms, because of the high temperature and pressure inside
(c) nuclear fusion in stars creates helium from hydrogen as a raw
material. In the process the number of protons remains the same but
the number of atoms decreases as two hydrogen nuclei are needed to
make 1 helium nucleus.
(d) the abundance of the most abundant elements in the universe is:
Element Parts per million by mass
All Others 650
so plainly the vast majority of atoms in the universe are hydrogen
and the vast majority of hydrogen is the universe exists in stars
and exists as a plasma of protons.
So it is quite a complex can of worms you have opened up here, and
I hope I have said enough to stimulare you to read further about it.