“ Little Science takes you away from God. but, more of it takes you to him.” --Louis Pasteur
This is Earth. You live here on this planet somewhere. Everything you ever have known is located right here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. it has a diameter of 12,742 km at the equator. On the Solar System scale, just exactly how small it is? -- A 0.12 pixel sized Pale blue dot. Meaning that, If we could capture our Solar System, You will end up finding our earth as a 0.12 pixel sized tiny blue dot in that picture. So on Universe Scale, how small it is?
How frequent our misunderstandings, problems, loneliness, arrogance, sufferings, suicides, frauds, cruelties, how eager we are to kill one another and blame eachother on this tiny-dot in the vast cosmic arena??
To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” — Carl Sagan
Whenever we worried about our problems, we should like to think we are incredibly small in this universe. whatever happens, it doesn’t matter. So live the life the way you want, the fullest. Rest, let it be.
I hope you will have a different perspective over life after reading this article and some reference videos at the end.
Back in the years, while I was watching some YouTube video stuff, All of the Sudden I got a video recommendation “Life on International Space Station” That’s where I turn my part-time Interest towards Space and Science. So after years, it all led me to write this article. Although some of the content is not by my own, it took some research over a bunch of websites and books to present it here. Lets dive into our concept -- “How big is Our Universe??” Its quite Understandable if we could surpass the nearest nearer nearby and far farther farthest approach. It means we are going to start from the nearest object from earth to furthest objects in the Universe. So as a prerequisite, we should have an Idea on light speed as it is a unit of distance used to measure vast distances between stars, galaxies.
Speed of Light
The speed of light in a vacuum is 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second), and in theory, nothing can travel faster than light. To put it into comparison, light can zip around the earth 7.5 times in a single second. at least we are not even made an object that can travel at a 10% speed of light(29,979.2 Km/s). till now, Parker Solar Probe surpassed 68.6 kilometers per second as recorded by Guinness world records making it the fastest-ever human-made object as it is about 0.0002% of Light Speed.
- The Moon
You may think moon is very close to us since it is dominantly visible to us with naked eye. Although it is a nearest cosmic neighbor to earth, this satellite can be found orbiting at a distance of 384,400 km. in comparison, the distance is 30 times of entire Earth’s Diameter. It takes light about 1.3 seconds to travel from Earth to the moon. If you somehow, planned a trip to the moon on your spacecraft at a constant speed of 100 Kmph, it would take 160 full days to get there.
2.The Sun & Solar System
The Sun is the star at the center of our Solar System. Our planet earth and all other 8 planets with dozens of their moons and millions of asteroids orbiting around it forming a Solar System. Earth orbits the sun at an average of 92,955,807 miles (149,597,870 km). It takes sunlight an average of 8 minutes and 20 seconds to travel from the Sun to the Earth. It means whenever we see our sun, we are seeing its past 8 minutes 20 seconds. More interestingly, When looking at stars on night sky, you’re actually looking into their many years past because Light take years to reach Earth from them. The distance from Earth to the sun is called an astronomical unit, or AU, which is used to measure distances throughout the solar system.
Jupiter, for example, is 5.2 AU from the sun. it means Jupiter is 5.2 times further away from the distance our earth to sun. our neighboring planet mars is 1.504 AU to the earth. Meaning, it is 1.54 times further away as our earth is to the sun. Neptune is 30.07 AU from the sun. Pluto is last dwarf planet in our Solar System. Pluto lies 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) from Earth. Light itself takes 4.6 hours to travel from the Earth to Pluto.
3. Voyager Spacecrafts
Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977. Part of he Voyager program to study the outer Solar System, Voyager 1 was launched 16 days after its twin, Voyager 2. Continuing on their more-than-40-year journey since their 1977 launches, Voyager1 is Currently 22 Billion Kms (4 times further than the last planet in our system Pluto to earth) and Voyager 2 is 18.2 Billion Kms away from Earth. If you think You are lonely?? Think Voyagers. Voyager 1 travelling at a speed of 17 kilometers per second While Voyager 2 travelling into Space at a Speed of 15 Kilometers per second. They’re on escape trajectory. Meaning that they won’t come back again to Earth.
Both the Voyagers carrying Golden Records of images, sounds, thoughts, feelings, culture of different people around the earth. While on their journey, if any galactic advanced civilizations(aliens) found these probes, they will get to know about Us. It will take millions of years to find alien life on their journey. But Voyagers will be there when we and our planet is no more. So, wherever Voyagers will go, They have hell of a story to tell and that story is We Existed. They both headed different paths on their way to other Stars. In August 2012, Voyager 1 made the historic entry into interstellar space, the region between stars, filled with material ejected by the death of nearby stars millions of years ago. Voyager 2 entered interstellar space on November 5, 2018 and Become first man-made objects to Reach interstellar Space heading towards closest stars to the sun.
4. Alpha Centauri Star System
Alpha Centauri is the Closest Star System to our Sun. It is a triple star system, with its two main stars, Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, whipping around each other and a third one Proxima Centauri slightly nearer than Alpha Centauri to Us. The distance from the earth to Alpha Centauri is 4.3 Light Years. Light takes around 4.3 years to reach Earth from it. Proxima Centauri is on other hand is 4.22 Light Years away from earth. However, even it is the closest star to us, we can’t see with naked eye since it is quite dimmer. Since it is nearest star to our Solar System, Our next interstellar exploration will be on these stars. these stars are just like our Star (Sun) having Planets and Scientists have confirmed that there is Planet orbiting around Proxima Centauri Star in the habitable zone at a right distance and with right mass to sustain water and Life. This could be the place where we can find alien life. But, Don’t just pack your bags yet, Travelling to these stars is not just like Travelling From Bangalore to Delhi. It would take thousands of years to get to Proxima Centauri with our current technology. Voyager1 is already there in interstellar space, if it is heading on Right direction to Proxima Centauri at a speed of 17 kilometers per second, it would take another 70,000 years to reach Proxima Centauri.
5. Milky Way Galaxy
Milky Way is a galaxy where our Solar System, Alpha Centauri Star System, and unbelievably 300 billion other Stars and nearly 100 billion Planets with a diameter between 150,000 and 200,000 light-years. The Milky Way’s central core contains a supermassive black hole. It is commonly referred to as Sagittarius A*. It contains the mass of about 4.3 million Suns. The stars, gas, and dust of the Milky Way all orbit the center at a rate of about 220 kilometers per second. We have completed about 15 orbits since life started on Earth. The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is the closest spiral galaxy to us, and though it’s gravitationally bound to the Milky Way, it’s not the closest galaxy by far – being 2 million light-years away. It is Approaching to Our Galaxy at a Speed of 110 Kilometers per Second. So Our galaxy will collide with Andromeda Galaxy in about 5 billion years. Well, That’s not the bad news For now ?? Right??
6. Local Group
A group of galaxies with Milkyway Galaxy and neighbor Andromeda Galaxy and other 50 more Galaxies being part of it called Local Group. The total size of the Local Group is 10 million light-years across. The largest, most massive galaxies in the Local Group are the Milky Way, Andromeda and the Triangulum Galaxy.
7. Virgo Super Cluster:
The Virgo Supercluster or the Local Supercluster is Contains a Local Group, which in turn contains the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. At least 100 galaxy groups and clusters are located within its diameter of 110 million Light Years.Virgo SC is one of about 10 million superclusters in the observable universe.
8. Laniakea Super Cluster
Laniakea Super Cluster is home to the Virgo Super Cluster which in turn home for Milky Way and approximately 100,000 other nearby galaxies. Its diameter is about 500 million Light Years.
9. Observable Universe :
The observable universe is a spherical region of the universe comprising all matter that can be observed from Earth or its space-based telescopes and exploratory probes at the present time. There are at least 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe. The diameter of the Observable Universe is about 100 billion years. It’s unbelievably enormous as it seems, Observable Universe is a tiny slice of the Entire Universe.
10 . Entire Universe
We Simply don’t know what else is out there beyond Observable Universe because light from these incredible distant places has had not enough time to travel back to the earth. Dr. Steve Curran, from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Said that big bang the origin for our Universe happened 13.7 billion years ago. Ever since then, the universe is expanding, if we wanted to have a Rough Calculation of How big is Our Universe, don’t go anywhere, here is the Formula by Alan Guth in Theory of Cosmic inflation. it says “size of the universe=age×speed of light”. In comparison with Observable Universe, the Entire Universe is about 150×10²¹ times larger than Observable Universe. If humanity has ever existed forever, we still never and ever know about some places in the Universe. That’s how big it is.
A Pale Blue Dot
A Pale blue dot as described by Scientist Carl sagan. This image of Earth is one of 60 frames taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on February 14, 1990, from a distance of more than 6 billion kilometers (4 billion miles). In the image, the Earth is a mere point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size. It is the most impactful picture ever taken in the history of mankind. In the incredible words of Carl Sagan, he said,
“We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps a no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
Are you still with me?? Nice.. Before going to Sleep today, Spend an extra 17 minutes to Watch this video about journey of Voyagers and Carl Sagan words about life. best ever video on YouTube . https://youtu.be/w_T0Xt_PooM
I wonder If you could like background music too.
19. A Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan