December 2nd, 2011

Well, It Doesn't Make Me Feel Insignificant.

An Atlas of The Universe

Well, actually, it does. (Yet i'm told that size doesn't matter).  Of course there is more than size involved here (and more than matter).  Why do we say that the universe is fourteen billion years old?  Because, so far, only light from 14,000,000,000 light years away has come to our attention, so rather than talk about the universe, astronomers talk about the visible universe.

There are eight "maps" in this "atlas."  The scale of the "smallest map" is too large to show the location of the earth (let alone me) and the scale of the "largest map" is one billion, one hundred-twenty million time that of the "smallest."  The text below the "largest map" says there are seven trillion, three hundred-fifty billion galaxies and thirty billion trillion (3X10 to the twenty-second power) stars in the visible universe.

It is no longer tenable to me, if it ever was, to believe that the earth was intended as a place for us humans to walk around on, and dominate, and explore the rest of the universe from.  Science has given us great knowledge of the universe in the past 400 years; but the invisible universe is expanding at rates greater than that of the visible, and science will never catch up to poetry, which does, after all, have about a one million year head start.