Let’s Pause and talk about: The Universe

So this is something a little different, but since this blog is for nerds, and nerds like science (all nerds of the True Nerd breed, that is, of which I am decidedly one), I thought it might be of interest. Its…wow.

Pretty awesome, eh? If you want a little more, we can talk about size. Specifically, the size of stars:

And if you still have part of your head that has yet to explode Scanners style, lets talk about another kind of size. Specifically, the size of the Universe we DON’T know. (All that blank, unmapped space in the first video, remember?) Look at this picture:

Photobucket

This is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Image, a picture of the farthest we have ever been to see in outer space. I love this picture so very, very much (in fact, its my desktop wallpaper.) I love it for its visual beauty sure, but I love what it symbolizes in terms of Man’s technological achievement, and the human will to know, and to explore as well.

It also helps me keep perspective. According to Cracked:

Right now, on your computer screen, are approximately 10,000 galaxies.

Each of those galaxies contains anywhere from ten million to one trillion stars.

The average star is roughly a million times the size of Earth.

And yet, with all that junk, the Universe is more than 90 percent empty space.

All of that, in this tiny photo. A photo that took 400 orbits and 800 exposures to take.

And the kicker? The photo covers one thirteen-millionth of the entire night sky.

So all that shit we just said about how big the universe is (at least 90 billion light years)? Forget it. That’s small beans. The Cosmological Horizon is here to make your day a whole lot more complicated. Since we can only observe stellar bodies that have had some effect on us (usually bombarding us with light), there is an outer limit to what we can see of the universe. Hence, the “observable universe.” What about the rest? The parts of the universe beyond our Starcraft-style fog of war? Well, according to some math we have no interest in going into, the size of the “actual” universe is so large that if the universe we just described (the impossibly, mind-bogglingly large one) were the size of a quarter, the actual universe would be the size of the Earth.

Holy. Shit.

The original article is here, and its quite good if you like that sort of thing, which I happen to.

Some pretty awesome stuff. I haven’t yet been able to decide if I should stand in awe of all this, or curl up into the fetal position and sob as I contemplate my complete and utter insignificance. Petty differences (even the important ones like Kirk vs. Picard) seem pretty damn stupid after being slapped in the face with something like that. It really makes you think. The more you think the more you know, and of course, as every child of the 80s is aware…

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One response to “Let’s Pause and talk about: The Universe

  1. Pingback: Hawk’s Alien Adventure « Soldierhawk's Pop-Culture Emporium

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