Sunday, July 27, 2014

Thoughts 20

Thoughts 20

If you want to enlarge the pictures so that the names can be read, hold down the Ctl key and tap the plus + key.

We have the standards that have been set up to represent distances in the universe from the last post. Let's take a trip to other places besides Earth.

First let's go to the Sun from Earth. It is approximately 93,000,000 miles (one AU, Astronomical Unit) from us. If we could travel at the speed of light (nothing can go faster in the universe as we understand it today) it would take 8 seconds to reach our destination. Of course we cannot come close to reaching even a large fraction of the speed of light which is 186,000 miles per second.

If we were to travel to Pluto which is 366,600,000,000 miles (39.5AU) from the sun, it would take us approximately 228 days at the velocity of light if Earth was as close to Pluto as we get.

Taking close to two-thirds of a year to get to Pluto, it would take 4.2 years to get to the Alpha Centauri system which is made up of three stars.* They are the closest stars to us. Again we would be traveling at the speed of light. From this point in our trip distances will be in light years or parsecs.

In the above picture notice that the smallest white dot is Sirius.

The Milky Way, our galaxy, is approximately 100,000 light years in diameter and 7,000 light years thick. It is a spiral arm galaxy (some say a barred spiral arm). Our solar system is somewhere is the area of ½ to 2/3 the from the center of our galaxy, located in one of the arms. The Milky Way is made up of 1 hundred-billion to 4 hundred-billion stars.** Many of these stars have planets rotating around them.

We have made a very limited trip through the solar system and then the Milky Way galaxy. Let's move into the void between galaxies. Our galaxy is moving in relation to others within what we know as the local group. The first picture gives the galaxies that are within 500,000 light years of us. The second picture shows the entire local group. ***

If you notice, the measurement is in millions of light years for the whole local cluster. Let's go about 3.5 million light years toward the galaxy Sextans A and stop in the void to look back to where we came from.

Just as we look at our bodies as a whole because we are more than the sum of our parts as we can understand them, we have looked at the Earth as a whole by using the same type of standards so our intellect can understand. The same as we do for everything else. Now looking back, we see a mediocre star that is not special in any way, about 2/3s of the way toward the rim of the Milky Way galaxy which is one of countless billions. We can see specks orbiting. Watching closely we can see the third speck out from this star is taking the first steps to exploring other bodies close to it. Could this inconsequential little speck be a living entity? While looking back from this position I know the true meaning of the word awesome. It is joyous and fearful at the same time.

Two pictures from duckduckgo

All other pictures from google

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