blown away by scale
say, for example, you place a grain of sand on the very center of the 50-yard line on a football field. this grain of sand represents earth. a scaled sun would be a bit larger than a softball, just about the size of the 50-yard line stripe itself. that may not seem like a huge difference, but in actuality, you can fit about ONE MILLION earths in the sun (and thus approximately 1,000,000 grains of sand in this softball). now here's the insanity of scale... the largest known star in the universe is YZ Canis Majoris. can you take a guess how big it would be? just take a guess, would it fit between the 40-yard lines? maybe, the 20-yard lines? would it be goal line to goal line? think about it and take a guess...
well, if you gave up on guessing, i'll tell ya. granted these are rough calculations, but you'd have to add a football field to both sides of the one we are standing on and (neglecting endzones) YZ Canis Majoris would reach to the FAR 5 yard line on these extra fields. we think of our earth as big. we think of our sun as big. while it takes 8 minutes for our suns light to travel to use from the earth (just to reiterate, going the speed of light), it takes about 8 HOURS for light to cross from one side of YZ Canis Majoris to the other. just for shits and giggles and maybe strokes for people who have a hard time with big numbers. the number of earths that would fit in this big guy... almost 10,000,000,000,000,000. that's ten quadrillion earths in just one star.
that's about as far as i'm going to take the numbers for now, but think briefly... there are BILLIONS of stars each found in BILLIONS of galaxies each found in what might be millions of super-clusters. the scale is just awe striking and humbling. and with that, i need a break or a beer... or both.