March 26th 2015
Today I feel very, very small. I’ve just finished watching Interstellar, which if you’re unaware is a really, really good film about space. It’s about other stuff as well but this isn’t a place for spoilers.
The other day I was talking with somebody about last weeks eclipse, and I said something about the sun. “The sun is very very far away, it’s the thing that is furthest away that we can see, and recognise (Unless you’re good at naming stars), but comparatively, it isn’t very far away at all.”
For Valentine’s day Alice bought us a pair of stars that are next to each other in the sky/space/galaxy, in reality “next to each other” probably means about the same distance away as we are to Mercury, but that’s still relatively close.
Forgive me, for I am about to use some terminology that I don’t completely understand.
The stars, our stars, are 66.9 Mpc from earth. Apparently Mpc means “Megaparsecs” which is one million parsecs. And apparently one Megaparsec is circa 3 x10^22 meters. Which is a 3 followed by twenty two zeroes. 30,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 metres. And my stars, our stars, are 67 times that.
Apparently, the distance to the sun is 149,597,870,700 metres, which for comparisons sake we’ll round to 150 with some zeroes and put it next to our previous number.
Do you see how many more zeroes there are? And our stars aren’t even that far away. There is so much beyond them, you can go so much further, so much farther. It’s endless. It’s bloody endless. But yet, in all of that space, in all of time, are we to assume that we are the only planet that has life?
We’re a bunch of ignorant narcissists if we think that. We’re not that special.
The earth is a small planet in a small solar system in a small galaxy in a small whateverthethingthatcomesafteragalaxyisimnotanastronomerbutyougetmypoint. And I’m just a small man in a small country.
Space is fucking huge. And I am very small. We all are.
Until tomorrow, look up at the sky and realise that everything you see is bigger than anything you will ever know.