Archive | August, 2009

How Big is the Universe? Wow, It’s REALLY Big.

18 Aug

Call me crazy, but whenever the size of the universe comes up in conversation, I always hear a variation of the same statement: it just makes me feel so, you know, small. And I say “really”? Yes, I understand that the earth is a fraction of an atom in the great design of the universe. I get it. But my predominant reaction is “well, that’s makes me part of an astronomically (obviously) large thing. I am part of THAT!” So in a kooky way, it makes me feel really good. As Carl Sagan said, human brains literally can not comprehend/compute/fathom the size and scope of the universe and what’s in it. That’s not our job. I suppose when we try to measure that, it’s a bit like trying to make flowing water into a box we can hold and grab and toss. What’s the point? Perhaps the real question is “how are we a part of it all?” Here are two cool videos referencing the Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D.

And here is George Smoot at the TED conference discussing the actual design of the universe. I am so fascinated with how matter-0f-factly Smoot basically describes so effortlessly and definitively what we know about the universe. Certainly, we only have what he calls a “droplet” of information to go on, but oh the places we will go (that’s Dr. Suess, not me.)

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