OUR HOME


1. This is the Earth! This is where you live.

image

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image / Via visibleearth.nasa.gov

2. And this is where you live in your neighborhood, the solar system.

image

Via foxnews.com

3. Here’s the distance, to scale, between the Earth and the moon. Doesn’t look too far, does it?

image

4. THINK AGAIN. Inside that distance you can fit every planet in our solar system, nice and neatly.

image

PerplexingPotato / Via reddit.com

5. But let’s talk about planets. That little green smudge is North America on Jupiter.

image

NASA / John Brady / Via astronomycentral.co.uk

6. And here’s the size of Earth (well, six Earths) compared with Saturn:

image

NASA / John Brady / Via astronomycentral.co.uk

7. And just for good measure, here’s what Saturn’s rings would look like if they were around Earth:

image

Ron Miller / Via io9.com

8. This is a comet. We just landed a probe on one of those bad boys. Here’s what one looks like compared with Los Angeles:

image

Matt Wang / Via mentalfloss.com

9. But that’s nothing compared to our sun. Just remember:

image

Via Twitter: @maiwandafghani

10. Here’s you from the moon:

image

NASA

11. Here’s you from Mars:

image

NASA

12. Here’s you from just behind Saturn’s rings:

image

NASA

13. And here’s you from just beyond Neptune, 4 billion miles away.

image

NASA

To paraphrase Carl Sagan, everyone and everything you have ever known exists on that little speck.

14. Let’s step back a bit again. Here’s the size of Earth compared with the size of our sun. Terrifying, right?

image

John Brady / Via astronomycentral.co.uk

The sun doesn’t even fit in the image.

15. And here’s that same sun from the surface of Mars:

image

NASA

16. But that’s nothing. Again, as Carl Sagan once mused, there are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth:

image

Via science.nationalgeographic.com

17. Which means that there are ones much, much bigger than little wimpy sun. Just look at how tiny and insignificant our sun is:

image

Via en.wikipedia.org

Our sun probably gets its lunch money stolen.

18. Here’s another look. The biggest star known, VY Canis Majoris, is 1,000,000,000 times bigger than our sun:

image

Via youtube.com

………

19. But none of those compares to the size of a galaxy. In fact, if you shrank the sun down to the size of a white blood cell and shrunk the Milky Way galaxy down using the same scale, the Milky Way would be the size of the United States:

image

Via reddit.com

20. That’s because the Milky Way galaxy is huge. This is where you live inside there:

image

Via teecraze.com

21. But this is all you ever see:

image

Via Twitter: @lucybrockle

(That’s not a picture of the Milky Way, but you get the idea.)

22. But even our galaxy is a little runt compared with some others. Here’s the Milky Way compared to IC 1011, 350 million light years away from Earth:

image

Via Twitter: @smokeinpublic

Just THINK about all that could be inside there.

23. But let’s think bigger. In JUST this picture taken by the Hubble telescope, there are thousands and thousands of galaxies, each containing millions of stars, each with their own planets.

image

Via hubblesite.org

24. Here’s one of the galaxies pictured, UDF 423. This galaxy is 10 BILLION light years away. When you look at this picture, you are looking billions of years into the past.

image

Via wikisky.org

Some of the other galaxies are thought to have formed only a few hundred million years AFTER the Big Bang.

25. And just keep this in mind — that’s a picture of a very small, small part of the universe. It’s just an insignificant fraction of the night sky.

image

Via thetoc.gr

26. And, you know, it’s pretty safe to assume that there are some black holes out there. Here’s the size of a black hole compared with Earth’s orbit, just to terrify you:

image

D. Benningfield/K. Gebhardt/StarDate / Via mcdonaldobservatory.org

So if you’re ever feeling upset about your favorite show being canceled or the fact that they play Christmas music way too early — just remember…

This is your home.

image

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

This is what happens when you zoom out from your home to your solar system.

image

And this is what happens when you zoom out farther…

image

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

And farther…

image

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Keep going…

image

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Just a little bit farther…

image

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Almost there…

image

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

And here it is. Here’s everything in the observable universe, and here’s your place in it. Just a tiny little ant in a giant jar.

image

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons