Space is Big

From Journal 1 – 02/03/1982

“….really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it it. I mean you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s peanuts to space…”

Douglas Adams, The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, p.62

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Now

I do get overwhelmed when I start to ponder the extent of space and even more so when I realize that no matter how vast it is there is an edge, and in understanding that I wonder what lies beyond that edge. There has to be something right? I mean how could it be possible that there is nothing there at all?

I have found that there is an entire theory about nothingness which I do not pretend to understand. It says something about the big bang and the fact that the expanding universe will continue to expand until all forms of energy in it are expended, whereupon it will collapse into nothingness. What I find equally remarkable is that there are people who actually understand this stuff.

I prefer to ponder two things. One, the gift man was given that allowed us of all the creatures on earth to gaze at the stars and ask the question why? Secondly, the gift and trap of time, that has given us an ability to place all of human experience into the context of history, so that what has gone before can be shown to have influenced where we are now, both individually and collectively as a species.

Have you ever truly looked at the stars? Have you wondered as you gaze skywards and back into the past, whether there are other beings on far away worlds casting whatever their equivalent of an eye is in the general direction of this small green and blue world, orbiting a small yellow star on one of the outer arms of a galaxy amongst countless galaxies? Have you ever contemplated that every single point of light we see is different to any of the others we can see and those we can’t. That there are no two stars, or planets, or organisms that are exactly alike. And yet every molecule wherever it is scattered throughout our universe has one thing in common, they were all born at precisely the same instant and they will return to that exact same state when this universe ends.

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8 Comments

  1. Greg said,

    July 12, 2007 at 3:56 am

    Don’t worry about that theory, it’s nothing.

  2. People in the Sun said,

    July 12, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    “the gift man was given that allowed us of all the creatures on earth to gaze at the stars and ask the question why?”

    Mabe it would have been a better gift if we weren’t compelled to ask why. Stars are nice, sparkly things, and the rainbow is colorful and round. When we start asking why we end up with stories of floods. And from there, it’s a slippery slope to Evan Almighty.

  3. Loz said,

    July 13, 2007 at 5:46 am

    Greg – I agree

    People – lol – but without the why we wouldn’t have the cynic 😉

  4. Jeff said,

    July 13, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    The “WHY” is really the only worthwhile thing about it. Otherwise, the universe is a gallery that inspires no thought.

  5. Bob Johnson said,

    July 14, 2007 at 4:03 am

    There is also the theory that the universe will rubber band back in itself which will create another big bang and start all over again, many think that we are in a loop and it has happened before. Or how about multi-verses, where there are many not one universe, its all just a little mind boggling.

  6. Loz said,

    July 14, 2007 at 4:25 am

    Thanks for the visit Bob and I actually do like the multiverse theory

  7. dan leone said,

    July 16, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Excellent post, Loz! I have a shelf of astronomy books that try to explain these things to me. I would like to pretend I understand. But it is the pure joy that comes from the pondering that makes us human. My son and I go outside whenever we can and stare skyward and try to fathom the scale and the beauty of it all.

    Thank you Loz!

    Dan

  8. Megan Bayliss said,

    July 19, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    Bugger – I thought the vastness existed to aid us in our search for the question that precedes the answer, 42!!

    Laughed when I read your opening quote Loz. I am making our home schooled child watch the Hitchhikers Guide as a lesson in understanding cult movies.

    Here via the Carnival of Australia.


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