Blog #1: The Scale of the Universe

Something that fascinates me is the idea of scale of our universe. In particular, “scale” relative to a more traditional size/distance scale that we use more often. The metric scale, whose utility to humans generally ranges from millimeters to kilometers (measurements that we are easily able to estimate and compare), represents an indescribably minuscule spectrum of distance measurements when compared to the gargantuan size of our universe. See this slide show depicting the scale of our universe.

The universe is made of superclusters, which house local groups, one of which containing the Milky Way galaxy, which contains our solar system–inside that solar system lies our planet, Earth. Even the small minutiae of the universe (planets like Earth) are smaller in comparison to the Universe than the cells are that make up a human body. The diameter of the Earth is a breathtaking 12,742km–a number still much greater than most are able to comprehend–but the Earth itself contributes negligible mass to the universe as a whole. This subject is particularly intriguing to me because it challenges me to think in terms of distances/sizes that are much larger than we can comprehend.

Size of universe graphic. Obtained from

3 thoughts on “Blog #1: The Scale of the Universe

  1. A 17 day roadtrip to circumnavigate the Earth driving at 100 mph! Now you know why the New York to India flights fly over the North Pole. Thanks for your post!


  2. I share your fascination with the scale of the universe. I think it is bizarre that the things that we think are “huge” here on Earth, or even Earth itself, is actually pretty close to nothing in relation to the size of our own galaxy, let alone the entire universe. But even though these mass scales may seem breath-taking and even scary at first, it also makes me curious and excited to see if we humans can really explore to distances that we, right now, cannot even comprehend. And, furthermore, I am anxious to know what we find. With a universe so big, there’s bound to be even more!

    Another thing I think you might like to look into is the possibility of the multiverse. This theory just blows the idea of our universal scale out of the water!


  3. TA Response:

    The scale of the universe is one of the most fascinating topics in astronomy. I have heard the subject discussed many times by people from a wide range of academic backgrounds in a host of different social circles and it really does seem to be one of the things that naturally drives curiosity.

    One thing I find even more bizarre is that modern astronomy has repeatably found that the universe is not only incomprehensibly big, but is getting bigger at an ever increasing rate!

    The field is still trying to work out that mystery, but considering it is really mind blowing.


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