It’s easy to get wrapped up in life and the world around you. This view of where we stand in the universe should help to put things in perspective.
OK, so let’s start with where we all live.
Here is the moon relative to us. Not so far away, right?
Until you realize that you can fit every plant in our solar system between us and it.
Zoom out, and you get an idea of where we sit in our solar system. The moon is 238,900 miles away. Venus, the planet closest to us, is 16 times as far.
Stacking 6 earth’s together still doesn’t get us much against the mass of Jupiter.
Yet, it all pales in comparison to our sun.
Now, looking back at the earth from our moon.
And from Saturn.
Now just beyond Neptune, around 4 billion miles away.
Holding the earth up next to the sun would look like this.
You know what the sun looks like from Earth. This is a sunrise on Mars, with light filtering through atmosphere 100 times as thin as earth’s.
There are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth.
And some of those dwarf our sun.
The biggest star, VY Canis Majoris, is 1,000,000,000 times bigger than our sun.
Which is still amazingly smaller than the size of a galaxy. As a matter of fact, if you shrank down our sun to the size of a white blood cell and then shrank down the Milky Way using the same scale, the Milky Way would still be size of the United States.
This is Earth’s spot in the Milky Way, our galaxy.
This circle represents what we can see.
But our galaxy is very small compared to some others. Here is the Milky Way compared to IC 1011, 350 million light years away from Earth.
This is a picture from the Hubble telescope that captures a small portion of the sky. Captured in just this image are thousands upon thousands of galaxies. Each of them contain their own stars and their own planets, just like our own.
One of the galaxies pictured is UDF 423, which is 10 billion light years away. When you look at this galaxy through a telescope, you are seeing light that was transmitted 10 billion years ago. You are looking into the past.
All from a seemingly insignificant part of the sky.
“Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.” – Carl Sagan