As a human race, we are some pretty incredible beings capable of some pretty amazing things. Take a look around this globe we call home and recognize just what we have accomplished during our short stay here. We can easily communicate with people thousands of miles away with the touch of a button. We have constructed enormous buildings that have withstood the test of time and seem to defy physics all together. We have successfully launched and landed a little remote-controlled robot on another planet 140,000,000 miles away! We even launched one and landed it on a moving asteroid for crying out loud! Needless to say we are proud of our accomplishments and development as a species. You might wonder why I am stroking our egos so much right now. Well, simply put, I am about to completely crush the importance of these accomplishments and make you feel as insignificant as a grain of salt, lost in the middle of the ocean. We are a very arrogant species that seems to absolutely love the idea of the universe revolving around us. We fill our very short lives with random day-to-day pointless stresses, cliché goals and pride-filled undertakings. What for? We simply want to be the best we can, be happy and help each other out. We strive for greatness with the goal of making a name for ourselves and standing out among the crowd. Well why does any of this matter? Before we tackle that incredibly loaded question, let’s take a few things into consideration. Some things we usually don’t recognize or think about because, dare I say it, they’re a little over our heads. Grab a chair or put a mattress below your feet because these simple facts are going to floor you.
Look at you, so small, cute, and naive. Ready to grow into a fruitful, knowledgeable adult, ready to conquer the world, right? Think again.
This is what you look like from an altitude of 30,000 feet. This is right around the same height that airplanes fly around our Earth. From here you can see the slight curvature of our little blue planet.
This is what you look like from 100,000 feet. This is high up in the Earth’s stratosphere.
Not impressed? Felix Baumgartner, one of us, actually jumped out of a little capsule from the stratosphere, 127,852 feet from Earth, setting a new world record.
Here is what you look like from the surface of the moon, 230,000 miles away. We’ve been here before. No big deal, right?
This is what you look like from Mars. We have a robot here.
This is a selfie taken from Saturn.
Here you are, a mere 4 billion miles away, just beyond Neptune.
Well let’s take another step back. Time to make things a little interesting. This is how small you are compared to the Sun.
That’s pretty tiny, isn’t it? Not when you think of the comparison of a blood cell to an elephant or a whale. Well there’s much more where that came from. These giants are all in our Solar System. Earth is invisible at this scale.
Oh yes, it keeps going. Much, much further. Like seriously, much further.
And we’re just getting started! Hold on, it gets worse. Perspective is everything and sometimes it just needs to slap us in the face to truly comprehend some things.
Still feel like the universe revolves around you? Well let’s take things a few steps further.
When compared to some others, this is a very tiny comet. In fact, this is Rosetta’s Comet and we recently landed a probe on it as it flew through space. This is what Rosetta’s Comet looks like when compared to the city of Los Angeles, California.
See that tiny little dot out there? Yup that’s an Earth selfie taken of us from space.
Take a minute and just let your little brain do some math. Just math. I was lost at planets…
See that beautiful sight off in the distance. Well that is 50 million light years away from you. You are actually viewing the past! But hold on, it’s get’s much better.
This is Venus up close. Venus is the second planet from the Sun and the second largest terrestrial planet.
This is an up close image of our Sun, which in this picture is erupting.
While this image of a star formation looks like it encompasses some incomprehensible area, it’s actually nothing compared to the entirety of what we already know.
That is your cluster of stars in representation of what we know. Yes, that dot is your galaxy, the Milky Way.
There are 1 billion stars in this single image taken of just a section of the Milky Way.
This is 30 Doradus, which is a prolific star making region of the Universe containing the biggest of stars.
And let’s not forget about all the black holes in the universe…
I hope this has given you a boost of confidence in order to continue because there’s even more…. Much more.
This is our beautiful Earth. The place we have called home since the dawn of time.
Here is our home on the block of our neighborhood, the Solar System. The Moon looks pretty close to our home, doesn’t it?
Now take a look at the distance between our home and the Moon revolving around us, to scale. Doesn’t look too far, does it? Well think again…
In the distance between our Earth and the Moon, you can actually fit every planet in our solar system with a little room to spare.
That makes the planets look quite small. Well they are, but they’re not… This is starting to hurt. That little green smudge above is North America if it were placed on Jupiter.
This is what the entire Earth looks like compared to Saturn. Well 6 Earths actually.
And just for fun, this is what it would look like if our Earth had rings like Saturn.
Here is another Earth selfie. This one is taken from just beyond the sun. Approximately 92,960,000 miles away from you depending on the time of year.
To put things into perspective a little, think about this. There are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every single beach on Earth. Grab a handful of sand next time you’re at the beach and think about that.
This means that there are stars in space that seriously dwarf our puny sun. If you thought you were significant, you were wrong. The VY Canis Majoris makes our sun look like a grain of sand.
My mind is already pretty much melting out of my ears and my nose at this point but, just wait until you realize this. These size comparisons are nothing when compared to the size of a galaxy. Shrink the Sun down to the size of a white blood cell running through your veins. Shrink our entire galaxy, The Milky Way, down using the same scale. Well the Milky Way would be the size of the United States if the Sun was the size of a white blood cell running through your veins.
I know, I know, but were almost done. Stay with me now.
This is you inside your very own Galaxy. You live somewhere down there and probably have a little pet with a little pet house living under your roof. They may or may not have a flea living in a little flea house on them. Who knows if the fleas have pets too? Where do I stop?
And this is all you will ever see, in your whole entire precious life.
We now know that our sun is pretty puny compared to some other stars out there. Well guess what… Our Galaxy is actually pretty puny also. Here is the Milky Way compared to IC 1011. A galaxy that is 350,000,000 light years away from Earth.
Out there in this massive expanse we call space, it is safe to assume that there are a few black holes out there. Just to help you sleep at night, this is a black hole compared to Earth’s orbit.
This is some seriously heavy thinking. I don’t blame you if you need a snack or some juice at this time. You’re on course to being a genius though, so stick with me here. This has taken people thousands of years to figure out so give me a second more.
If you ever worry about being 5 minutes late to work. If you threw a fit when you found out that Twinkies were leaving the shelves. If you want to punch yourself every time you hear a story about Kim and Kanye, just remember this. The Earth is your home…
This is what it looks like if you zoomed out to the edge of our solar system.
Back up even further and take a look at our neighbors.
Don’t stop there. A little further you can see the city that your neighborhood resides in.
And farther… Here is where your city would be located on a space map.
We’re not done yet…
Here it is. Everything we know of in the observable universe. Do you still feel like your Monday meeting is the most important thing ever? Or do you still think the universe revolves around you? Think again.
I know that your brain is going to need a nap after taking in the vast amount of information that was just dropped on you, much like an atomic bomb of knowledge. I mean it is pretty scary to think about you in relation to the Universe. We spend our days worrying about things that really don’t matter in the whole scheme of things. We overreact to the smallest things and take our aggressions out on each other. We fight, argue and wage war, destroying the things we live for, over our beliefs. We exude arrogance every single day. Just remember how small you are and enjoy the time you do have here. You are just dust in the wind, so enjoy the ride. Stop worrying so much about things that will be irrelevant on your death-bed. Focus on the things that are important in the long run and constantly fill your head with knowledge. You are officially a genius after reading this and you deserve a reward. Go outside, look up, and be proud and thankful that you are a part of something much, much larger than yourself or anything you will ever know.