Come with me, comrade…
…as we take an incredible journey of gigantic proportions. It’s mind-blowing just how big this world really is.
In this article we will explore the relative sizes of various objects you’re familiar with. What you’ll find is that, although familiar, these objects are way more immense than you could have ever imagined.
My goal with this piece is to give you an idea of how enormous things actually are…and how endlessly vast our universe is.
What you are about to see is not fantasy, it’s not a fairy tale…it’s reality.
Each and every one of us literally exists in an infinite universe of incomprehensible proportions. Nevertheless, we still like to think our problems are the center of the universe.
After you finish this article, you’ll begin to realize just how trivial your worries are.
Make sure you read all the way to the end, because there’s a special twist that will leave you astounded and breathless.
Are you ready to jump in? Good.
Get comfortable, enter your browser’s full screen mode, and enjoy the intense immersion experience.
Welcome to A Journey of Shockingly Massive Objects!
Let’s start with a couple questions:
- Do you ever allow yourself to fully ponder the incredible vastness of our world?
- Do you carve out time to appreciate the immeasurable nature of reality?
If you did, you would have a much higher quality of life.
Something magical happens when you take even just a few moments to appreciate infinity…your problems suddenly feel like they’re just part of ‘The Matrix’.
When you contemplate reality’s vastness of size and complexity, you begin to understand that your problems are not the obstacle, but the path.
In today’s article, I’m going to put the universe into perspective. My hope is that you start to not only see, but have faith in, the incredible significance of the design. Nothing here is an accident.
So come with me, and take some time to admire the work our Creator has done. This world…this universe…it’s here for you to enjoy and experience.
With that being said, let’s dive right in to the awesome power of Nature.
Ladies and gentlemen…I give you the Blue Whale, the world’s largest animal!
The blue whale is the heaviest known animal that has ever existed on Planet Earth. The only other creature that compares is the world’s largest dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus. Weighing in at 90-100 tons, the Argentinosaurus is merely half the weight of the mighty blue whale.
To put the enormity of the blue whale into perspective, here’s a size comparison with a human and a dolphin:
When it comes to creatures on Earth, the blue whale is as big as it gets.
So now…let’s talk architecture. This next example is a truly remarkable feat of human engineering.
It has been named the Third Wonder of the Modern World because when it was built in 1931, it served as a symbol that humans can accomplish the impossible.
Speaking of impossible…oh my God, it’s Whalezilla!
The Empire State Building construction is an incredible story. The entire structure was built in just one year and 45 days, and it remained the tallest building in the world until the World Trade Center was built in 1972.
Indeed, the Empire State Building towers over every neighboring structure. But, believe it or not, in the next example you can barely even see the Empire State Building!
Do you know what it is?
Go on, take a guess!
Standing at a colossal 5.4 miles high, you can barely see the Empire State Building at Mount Everest’s peak. And if you bring out a magnifying glass, you might be able to see a large, commercial airliner, twice the size of a blue whale, hovering just to the left of the Empire State Building.
Mount Everest is so big, that you can actually see it on a full-size map of Rhode Island.
Inside that red circle is a red dot, which is the U.S. state of Rhode Island. And if you were to place Mount Everest inside the state, here’s what it would look like:
But, behold…the largest state in the Union (or at least they like to think so): Texas.
You see that tiny little blip in the middle of Texas? That’s Rhode Island.
And if you look reeeeaaallly close, you can still see Mount Everest.
But in case you’re not impressed with the size of Texas, here’s an image that is sure to meet your standards:
Texas takes up a surprisingly large portion of the moon. Nice work, Texas.
Now it’s time to step out into space. Let’s see how the moon stacks up against our home world, Earth:
Since the moon is 1/6 the mass of the Earth, a 150-pound person on Earth would weigh only 25 pounds on the moon.
That same person, however, would weigh 351 pounds on Jupiter.
Do you see that gigantic red spot on the bottom right corner of Jupiter? That’s actually a storm bigger than the size of Earth that’s been raging since the 1600s.
Jupiter is incredibly massive. But its size pales in comparison to the real star of the show: our Sun.
Despite our familiarity with this giant, it’s not exactly “close to home”. In fact, the Sun is about 93 million miles away. That would take an airplane over 19 years to get there from Earth.
Nonetheless, the Sun continues to blast out enough heat to keep us alive: heat that takes only about eight minutes to reach Earth.
The outer layer of the Sun, the chromosphere, reaches temperatures of about 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit. But that’s nothing compared to the Sun’s core — a staggering 27 million degrees!
Jupiter’s diameter is 86,881 miles long, compared to the Sun’s enormous 865,374 miles!
But even the massive size of our Sun is minuscule compared to some of the other stars out there:
To get an idea of just how far 3,900 lightyears is, consider this: 1 lightyear = 5.87849981 × 10^12 miles, or 5,878,499,810,000 miles. Now, multiply that number times 3,900.
Talk about incomprehensible…let’s get back to our Sun.
Just for fun, this is what our Earth looks like relative to one of the Sun’s solar flares:
It’s pretty incredible that we can even stand a chance against the Sun. Luckily we can thanks to the 93 million miles in between us, as well as the Van Allen Radiation Belt that surrounds our planet. It is a layer of energetic charged particles that is generated from the magnetism created by Earth’s inner rotational mechanics. It acts as a shield that protects us from the Sun’s extremely intense radiation.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from Wikipedia: “In 2013, NASA reported that the Van Allen Probes had discovered a transient, third radiation belt, which was observed for four weeks until destroyed by a powerful, interplanetary shock wave from the Sun.”
The feeble nature of our existence is truly something to behold. It is nothing short of a miracle that life continues to exist on this planet.
The Earth happens to be the perfect distance away in order for the Sun’s magnificent power to foster life. To get a sense of the distances between the planets, there is a great experiment that helps to put it into perspective.
Let’s see if you can guess the answer to this question: if you were to use a bowling ball to represent the Sun and a peppercorn for the Earth, how big of a room would you need to represent the actual, scaled distance of our solar system? 10×10? 20×20?
Go on, take a guess.
The truth is that it’s a trick question. In reality, by the time you reach Pluto, you’d have walked over a half mile!
Ridiculous, isn’t it? Especially when you consider the size of our solar system relative to the Milky Way galaxy that it’s housed in. Take a look at this image:
If you look super close, you’ll see an extremely tiny dot. That’s our magnificent Sun, the center of the solar system. And scientists estimate that there are over 100 thousand million other stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. Can you even believe that there could be such a thing so vast?
But wait…it gets even bigger:
Scientists used to group the galaxies surrounding the Milky Way with Virgo Cluster along with nearly 100 other clusters of galaxies into a gigantic supercluster that spans over 100,000,000 (one hundred million) light years across.
But now we’re finding out that our cluster of clusters is actually part of a much larger supercluster, more than 100 times larger and more massive.
To get an idea of just how incredibly gigantic this supercluster is, you can refer to the video in the Additional Resources section at the end of this article.
I was struck by the image at 0:50 seconds into the video. It’s amazing to me how similar the universe is to a neurological system in a brain. If you’re not at liberty to watch the video, then take a look at this side-by-side:
Another incredible part of that video occurred at one minute, three seconds (1:03). The narrator said something that was pretty baffling to me: “…scientists struggle to define where one [supercluster] ends and another begins.”
Drawing lines is something that’s so intricately intertwined in our human nature. But, other than for the purpose of discussion, what’s the point? Just like defining the boundaries of countries on Earth, the practice becomes irrelevant really fast as you zoom further and further out.
Why do we struggle so much with the paradoxical concepts of singularity and infinity? It’s completely illogical, but perfectly sensible.
Well, for what it’s worth…circled in orange is our supercluster home: the beautiful “Laniakea”.
It’s pretty hard to believe that we actually live in this vast system of such massive proportions. Where does it all end? Is there even an end?
What do you call a supercluster of superclusters? The Universe? What about a Universe of Universes? A Multiverse? When does it stop!?
It probably doesn’t.
I mean, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger every time you zoom out. And, conversely, it just keeps getting smaller and smaller every time you zoom in.
People used to think that there’s nothing smaller than a cell. Likewise, we used to think the Earth was the center of the Universe.
Let’s just be careful not to assume that superclusters are the biggest objects in the Universe, like ‘recent scientific discoveries’ tend to allude to.
I imagine that there is no end. I bet it just keeps going and going.
What if you zoomed way out beyond Laniakea? Would you eventually be so far out that you actually see that it’s a brain? Then, even further, a person? If that’s the case, then this whole article starts all over again, only on a much larger dimension with a completely different conception of time.
Here’s another crazy twist:
What if inside of our brains is a massive neurological network that, if you zoom in far enough you’d see an atom…which is really just a solar system with tiny planets (electrons) orbiting the nucleus (a sun). And on some of these electrons are tiny beings living life, paying bills, going to school, having sex, and blowing each other up. A millisecond to you and I would literally be an eternity of trillions of generations of people living, reproducing, and dying.
Suddenly, nothing really matters anymore, does it?
We are just a minuscule blip of existence, trapped somewhere between infinity and negative infinity.
Why not just chill out and live the experience? Can’t we all just relax and enjoy life? Stop fighting each other…it doesn’t even matter.
Have fun, make money, and do cool stuff…
…oh, and thank God you have another day to breathe and explore this amazing world we call home.
What other planets would look like in the sky if they took the place of the moon. It’s quite impressive and beautiful at the same time.
If you want to get an idea of just how many galaxies are out there, then this video will blow you away.
This video shows how our Sun compares to some of the other stars in the known universe. One word: astonishing.
A beautiful video that reveals the incomprehensibly large supercluster that we call home — Laniakea, which means “immeasurable heaven”.
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