« What is Celiac disease? | Main | Dance Your Ph.D. »
Monday
Oct242011

So your friend asks: How far apart is stuff in space?

So you're standing around the office's World Pasta Day party (which, you will note, is tomorrow), and your friend asks, "Hey, man. How does the size of a galaxy compare to how far it is from other galaxies? What about stars? Are they, relative to their size, farther apart or closer together than galaxies?"

If you're still reading, and keep reading for a few hundred more words, you will be able to say with confidence, "Hey, man. I have the answer to that question."

If the universe were a tennis ball, I would put the multiverse
in my mouth.
Source.
Since the universe, and most of the stuff in it, is so much larger than you are, sometimes it's difficult to conceive of just how big it all is. Comparisons between different objects and distances in space can provide a relative perspective; comparisons between objects/distances in space and everyday objects and distances can bring the point home. Combining the two provides a powerful picture of the scale of the universe.

For this post, I'll pretend that our galaxy, our star, and our planet, in that order, have the same diameter as a tennis ball.

If the Milky Way were a tennis ball,

I'm a tennis ball.
Source.

  • The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds would be about 4 and 5 inches away.
  • The Andromeda Galaxy would be 5.6 feet away.
  • The edge of the visible universe would be 5.6 miles away.

I'm a tennis ball.
Source.

If the Sun were a tennis ball,

  • The nearest star would be 1200 miles away.
  • The center of the galaxy would be 7 million miles away.
  • The Earth would be 0.024 inches across.

Compared to how big they are, galaxies are extremely close together, and stars are extremely far apart.

I'm a tennis ball.
Source.
If the Earth were a tennis ball,
  • The Sun would be about 24 feet across.
  • The Earth would be about half a mile from the Sun.
  • The Earth would be about 450 feet farther from the Sun than Venus is.
  • Pluto would be about 19 miles away from the Sun.
  • Pluto would be half an inch across.
  • Jupiter would be 2.5 feet across.


Other Thoughts
If the universe were a tennis ball, everything else would be smaller than it.
If you were a tennis ball, you would be round and yellow.

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (17)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: check over here
    Very good Website, Maintain the useful work. Thanks.
  • Response
  • Response
    Response: Fitflops Sale USA
    fitflop 2014 fitflop sale sandal fi Fitflop Clearance tflop fitflop walkstar 3 light blue in singapore fitflop Fitflop Australia Wholesale women's 2014 fitflop newstyle grey gem black fit flops fitflop brown rock chic diamond fitflops sandals fit flops new fitflops ...
  • Response
    Response: uploaded net
    So your friend asks: How far apart is stuff in space? - Blog - Smaller Questions
  • Response
    Response: the full report
    So your friend asks: How far apart is stuff in space? - Blog - Smaller Questions
  • Response
    Response: Top Secret Hotels
    So your friend asks: How far apart is stuff in space? - Blog - Smaller Questions
  • Response
    Response: Reachout Wireless
    So your friend asks: How far apart is stuff in space? - Blog - Smaller Questions
  • Response
    So your friend asks: How far apart is stuff in space? - Blog - Smaller Questions
  • Response
    So your friend asks: How far apart is stuff in space? - Blog - Smaller Questions
  • Response
    Response: Albertina
    Summary and analysis of new scientific discoveries in biology and astronomy. by Sarah Scoles and Brooke Napier.
  • Response
    The milky way as a tennis ball was a good comparison pal. This theory really deliberates new things. All of these facts are very amazing to know about them. My imagination is quite interesting and helping me to get the good sort of ideas about the solar system. Especially the sun. ...
  • Response
    Response: 2015 us open
  • Response
    Response: Sell on ClickBank
    It is considered amongst the simplest ways of generating online revenue. It works by ClickBank hosting the vendor products on their site and then lets the affiliates promote these respective products.
  • Response
  • Response
  • Response
    Response: happy new year
  • Response

Reader Comments (6)

Excellent post, I love facts like these that make me step back and go "woah".

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSub-Radar-Mike

the last fact was really nice :)

October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thanks!

October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Scoles

I posted some comments expressing my admiration for this entry. Also thanks that solar wind was not conflated with tennis ball / dog slobber. Then the blogivator ate my comments in its eagerness to create a blog identity that I no longer remember.

However I did comment that, beyond enjoying this, I could not help but remember to cherish the pale blue dot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M

Keith
(secret is to be anononymous, perhaps)

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thanks, Keith!

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Scoles

Baseball is amongst the most favorite sports on this planet, especially in the states of North america. According to help Encyclopaedia Britannica, baseball would be the national passion of Us residents. www.scorespro.com

January 26, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterwww.scorespro.com

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>