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The scale of the Universe (video)

I’m not the biggest fan of Internet memes, but I remember seeing one that was actually good: “If you think you have succeeded in life, just remember that you are just a microscopic grain of sand on a minuscule planet that’s surrounded by infinite darkness.” Although this meme was supposed to have a demotivational effect, I actually smiled the first time I’ve read it. We, as humans, are really lucky to be born, and we should bow down to the greatness of the Universe.

The following video was created by folks at the American Museum of Natural History and it depicts a simulation of the scale of the Universe mapped so far using all the available information and images.  The video is a part of the exhibition named Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe.  Learn more on their website.

If the video above is not enough for you, here are 10 facts that may blow your mind about the Universe:

  1. The observable universe has a diameter of about 93 billion light-years.
  2. The Milky Way galaxy is estimated to contain between 100-400 billion stars.
  3. The largest known structure in the universe is the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall, a massive galaxy cluster that spans about 10 billion light-years.
  4. The universe is thought to contain about 2 trillion galaxies, each with billions of stars.
  5. The speed of light is the fastest speed possible, and it would take about 4.37 years to travel to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, at that speed.
  6. The universe is about 13.8 billion years old, but due to the expansion of space, we can observe light that has been traveling for over 46 billion light-years.
  7. The largest black hole ever discovered is estimated to have a mass of about 40 billion times that of our sun.
  8. At the subatomic level, particles can exist in multiple locations at the same time, and can be “entangled” with other particles, meaning that a change in one particle’s state can instantly affect the state of its entangled partner, no matter how far apart they are.
  9. There are more possible positions on a chessboard (10^120) than there are estimated atoms in the observable universe (10^80).
  10. The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, meaning that over time, distant galaxies will become increasingly difficult to observe and potentially disappear from our view entirely.