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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Spectacular image


The Hubble telescope took this composite image from data accumulated over a four-month period. The light emitted by the stars of these galaxies took 13 billion years to reach Earth. Strange to fathom, isn't it? There are ten thousand galaxies in that image alone - a grain of sand on a million beaches compared to what's out there.
It kinda humbles you, just a tad now, doesn't it? From the deeply religious to vehement atheists: I hope all are humbled equally. More importantly, that it quells any dogmatic rhetoric and behaviour. As I stare at the above image, I am reminded that there is very little that separates all humans.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just for fun, I looked up the actual numbers for numbers of galaxies, and the size of beach sand grains.

According to wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxy

...it is estimated that there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe. If this photo from the Hubble shows 10000 galaxies, the photo represents 1/10,000,000 (one ten-millionth) of the total.

"Beach Sand" particles range:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand

...in diameter from 0.0625 to 2 millimeters. Using an intermediate size of 1mm, and assuming they are cubic (just to make the math simple) that means there are 1000 sand particles in a cubic centimeter. This gives 1,000,000 particles per liter.

So, in reality, that photo represents a single grain in 10 cubic liters of beach sand.

:)

TorontoVet said...

Difficult to fathom! Good job with the numbers, seriously. I'll have to take your word for it!
Thanks very much for posting.