Earth, our home, is an insignificant part of the vast universe. In this blog post, we will explore the enormous sizes and distances that exist beyond our planet. Get ready to be amazed!
The Solar System
Let’s start with our neighborhood, the Solar System. The distance between the Earth and the moon may not appear too far, but they are 252,088 miles apart at their farthest points. To put it into perspective, you could fit every planet in our Solar System within that distance.
Now, let’s talk about the planets themselves. Jupiter’s great red spot is about two times bigger than Earth, while Saturn is nine times wider than Earth. The rings of Saturn are so massive that some fragments within them are as large as mountains.
But compared to our Sun, everything else is tiny. Earth appears insignificant from the moon, Mars, behind Saturn’s rings, and even beyond Neptune, four billion miles away. A billion is a colossal number, considering that one million seconds equals about 11 and a half days, while one billion seconds equals over 31 years.
The size of our Sun is truly terrifying. Earth is minuscule compared to its vastness. Carl Sagan once said, “The total number of stars in the universe is larger than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the planet Earth.”
And there are stars out there that make our Sun look tiny. VY Canis Majoris, the biggest star we know of, is about 2,000 times the diameter of our Sun.
The Milky Way Galaxy
However, even the largest stars pale in comparison to the size of a galaxy. If we were to shrink our Solar System to a quarter, the Milky Way galaxy would be roughly the size of the United States.
The Milky Way galaxy is enormous, with a diameter of about 100,000 light-years or approximately 621,371,192,237,333,890 miles. Within this vast expanse lies our tiny corner of the universe, planet Earth.
But, as it turns out, the Milky Way is just a small runt compared to other galaxies. Take NGC 6744, for example. This spiral galaxy is twice as wide as the Milky Way, stretching over 200,000 light-years across. It is truly massive.
The Limitless Universe
Now, let’s think even bigger. In a picture taken by the Hubble telescope, we can see thousands and thousands of galaxies, each containing millions or billions of stars, and possibly their planets.
Some of these galaxies may have formed as early as 11 billion years ago, just three billion years after the Big Bang. This period of time is considered one of the busiest star-forming periods in the universe.
And remember, the picture we are looking at represents only a very small part of the universe. The vastness and complexity of the cosmos are truly awe-inspiring.
Next time you find yourself upset about something trivial, such as your favorite show being canceled or premature Christmas music, take a moment to remember the enormity of the universe and the grandness of our home, Earth.