Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A lot of stars

In the Milky Way Galaxy there are 100,000,000,000 stars. The Earth's sun is one.

The nearest star to the Earth's sun, on a scale where the Earth's sun is about the size of a small coloured sweet known as a Smartie (we may use a yellow one), is 150 kms away.

Now imagine the whole Milky Way Galaxy with its 100,000,000,000 stars shrunk to the size of a Smartie. Where would next galaxy, it's called M31, be? The answer may surprise you. It will be just 13cms away. Galaxies tend to clump together. They appear to enjoy each others company.

The Milky Way Galaxy Smartie and the M31 Galaxy Smartie, sitting a mere 13cms apart from each other are part of the Local Group. The group of galaxies nearest to the Local Group is the Sculptor Group. The Sculptor Group and the Local Group are 60cms apart.

Only 3mtrs away from the Sculptor Group there is a very large group. It is spread over an area the size of a basket ball. The next big cluster of galaxies is 20mtrs away. And so it goes on. Some of the galaxy cluster are 20mtrs across. The entire known Universe would fit into a sphere 1km across.

This begs the question: What is beyond 1km or is there a beyond?


Dominic Rivron said...

Great post. I like these analogies that put big things into perspective.

Poet in Residence said...

Thanks Dominic. Perhaps the world's political and religious leaders, the more oustspoken, should unite under what is there to be seen and understood and quit behaving like god-fearing hate filled primitives?