Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ever try comprehending the size of the UNIVERSE?

Andromeda Galaxy


The massive, seemingly empty space outside and around our planet has always been a subject of great interest for me. When you look up at night and see a beautiful starlit sky, most never really consider what they're looking at. For most it's just another ceiling, they never really pay it any thought. 

Here's some fun facts---

Our Sun is the closest star to us, though still impossibly far away. We haven't even put a man on Mars yet. So what's the closest star to our own? That would be Proxima Centauri, a measly 4.2 light years away. But how far is one light year?

  • One light year covers the distance of about 5.8 trillion miles. 
  • In one trillion miles, you could circle the earth a little over 200 million times. Ever tried counting to one million? These are big fucking numbers.

That star is somewhere around 20 trillion miles away. And that's the CLOSEST one. So let's look at our galaxy as a whole:

  • From end to end, the Milky Way galaxy measures 100,000 light years across. Don't even try converting that to miles.
  • The galaxy itself contains an estimated 100 billion stars. Each with the possibility of having a system of planets orbiting it like our own.
At this point my head is already full of fuck. You can't even begin to fathom the size of our own galaxy. Then, it gets even bigger.

I don't feel like looking up all the details, but the Hubble deep field image covers "a speck of the sky only about the width of a dime located 75 feet away." -from The image shows 1,500 galaxies of varying size throughout varying stages of evolution. Holy fuck, son.

This is the kind of thing I feel we as a species were never really supposed to see. That's not to imply a divine being  watches over and forbids us to know, it's just impossible to comprehend. We're looking at things that exist, yet we will never ever visit them. I think it's unlikely humanity will ever even reach the closest star, much less beyond our galaxy. 
I'd say the possibility of life existing out there is 110%. A hundred and ten goddamn percent. It would be impossible for there not to be life elsewhere in the universe. There's probably an impossible amount of "alien" life in our own galaxy, but we'll probably never see it. Is it possible that said aliens are capable of visiting us? Perhaps. I find it hard to imagine any technology that would allow one to travel such vast distances, but it's not impossible. There really isn't such thing as 'impossible'. It's just a matter of one's limits in intelligence and perception. But that's a whole new topic entirely, haha.


  1. Our Galaxy, is probably one of the least mysterious ones atm. let's hope life on another planet is possible. s:

  2. I sometimes find myself trying to comprehend the size of the universe and I sometimes almost go crazy. Its like that total perspective machine in The Restaurant at the end of the Universe by Douglas Adams.

  3. I think my brain just took a shit or something, it was a really peculiar feeling

  4. I've contemplated the size of the universe and heat dissipation when on acid... it wasn't a fun experience.

  5. Mind blowing stuff, damn. When you put it like that it seems obvious there must be alien life out there somewhere, maybe even more advanced than us. Wow.

  6. Enlightening post to say the least, man.

    Those who don't believe there is other life out there are being naive; the sure SIZE of everything essentially guarantees that there is!

    Keep up the good work, eh.

  7. Very cool.

    When considering the vast reaches of space and how much there is to be explored, how can you not think of intelligent life out there?

    Then again, I think Calvin said it best when he said, "Sometimes I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life in space is that none of them have tried to contact us yet."

  8. This was really interesting to read, though I don't like thinking about how big the universe is. For some reason it's really unsettling for me.

  9. It is incomprehensible, our minds just cannot grasp sizes that large.