Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

galaxies

We are very tiny

I came across this video this weekend and wanted to share it. I’ve seen static images with size comparisons of the planets in our solar system, our sun, and other starts in our galaxy, but this video makes it significantly more dramatic.

It also uses the music from Disney’s movie The Black Hole, which, despite it’s scientific shenanigans with physics, is just a fun, fun movie.

(For the best effect, click the “HD” button and then make it full screen. Good stuff!)

Uber-cool Astronomical Sciencey Stuff!

Galaxy NGC 3021I found this article on DiscoverMagazine.com today about how fast our universe is expanding… and how astronomers figure this kind of thing out. After reading the whole thing, I was in awe… for two reasons.

First, the size and content of our universe is just completely mind-blowing. Carl Sagan’s “billions and billions” quote seems to understate it to an extreme degree. Just looking at a single galaxy and trying to wrap my head around how many stars it contains… and that just one of those stars (among billions) is like our Sun, one infinitesimally small fireball in a whirling mass of billions of similar fireballs… and that our tiny planet revolves around one such tiny star… it makes my head hurt.

Second, that there are people on this planet who have the intellectual wherewithall to actually measure the distance between galaxies and the speed of universal expansion by using supernovas and the pulsating brightness of stars. I mean, I can’t really grasp the idea of how small we are in just a galaxy (one of billions) without misfiring neurons in my brain causing me physical pain, but these guys are discussing the expansion of the universe, pulsating Cepheid variables, type I supernovae, and dark energy. I imagine them doing it casually over a beer or two at their local pub, but I’m sure they work exceptionally hard in labs and observatories and classrooms. Either way… wow.

So kudos to astronomers… misfiring neurons never felt so good!