You are an Insignificant Speck…
A long time ago someone sent me this email. After reading it, I really felt humbled beyond words. Even after looking at the images, the scope of the volumes of these things just boggles my mind. I have ripped the images out of the email and will attempt to incorporate them into this blog. They might be hard to read, but you can click on the images to enlarge them.
We live of the planet Earth. It feels like a pretty big place to be. Here’s how it compares to some of the other inner planets:
You can see we are bigger than our nearest neighbors, Mars, Venus and Mercury as well as Pluto which has been demoted to a new class – a “Dwarf Planet” and more specifically – a “Plutoid.” It is the smallest body in the slide. Now, in the next slide we will see some more planets. The ones in the image above will also be in that image to allow you to fathom the scale and how the very smallest object in the above image compares to the very biggest in the next.
Look at the first row of planets (and Pluto) and compare the size to the next row containing Uranus and Neptune. Then compare those to Jupiter and Saturn. You knew they are bigger, but did you realize just how much? The Earth is the size of a marble compared to the basketvall sized Jupiter. Are you feeling small yet? Let’s compare all this to our sun, the object which all these others orbit. The next image shows the Sun in comparison to these planets. Yes, you really are small.
Here are all the planets (and Pluto) shown in comparative scale to our sun. The Earth is speck, and now Jupiter is marble sized in contrast to the basketball sized Sun. Amazingly, you are not small enough. You will shrink even more. In the next image Arcturus, the third brightest star in the night sky is compared to our sun.
This is really amazing. When we set the scale so that Arcturus is the size of a basketball our sun is the size of a marble. A small marble at that. You may not be able to read the image, but it says that at this scale Juptier is visible. It is about one pixel in size. In this image the Earth cannot be represented. It is smaller than the smallest dot used to make the image. You are not just small. You are seriously small. You are smaller than a speck of dust in the cosmic scheme of things. Did you think Arcturus was the biggest thing? There is one more image to show. You are going to shrink some more. How small can you go? How big can something be and still be a single thing? Mind boggling. In this last image we see Antares.
It’s here in our Milky Way galaxy. And while it’s so big, it isn’t so bright. Big and dumb? Well, that’s not exactly what I meant. It’s about the 16th brightest star in the night sky, but it is huge. It’s a red supergiant. And while it may be in the class of stars that are the most voluminous, it is not the class that is the most massive. One this scale, where Antares is the size of a basketball, Arcturus is marble sized. And our sun is just one pixel. Do you feel small now?
Here is another way to look at it. In the image below Antares is compared to Arcturus and our sun. And the dotted black line, inside of Antares is the orbit of Mars. So, if our sun was the size of Antares there would be no Mercury, Venus, Earth or Mars. They all fall within bounds of the sun. And someday, some 5 billion years hence, this may be the fate of our Earth.
And in video format – thanks to Mandy for finding this one!