PDA

View Full Version : I feel so small!



Bella Cheval
2003-Jun-11, 01:48 PM
I was outside our barn last night after finishing up giving our horses their bedtime hay and topping up their water buckets, just a-looking at the unusually clear sky (it's rained here almost every day for a couple of weeks) when suddenly it hit me.

I felt sooooo tiny standing under that crowded sky. I just stood there, numbed by the realization that I was just one of a bazillion people thru time that looked up and wondered "What if?" or "How far away are they?" among other things before the feeling of being an insignificant speck in the whole meaning of things set in.

Too bad my hubby's scope is in storage, would have been a great night for stargazing & looking at the Moon.

Peace, everyone.

kilopi
2003-Jun-11, 03:31 PM
Too bad my hubby's scope is in storage
Tell him he can store it at my place for free.

Hamlet
2003-Jun-11, 03:37 PM
I was outside our barn last night after finishing up giving our horses their bedtime hay and topping up their water buckets, just a-looking at the unusually clear sky (it's rained here almost every day for a couple of weeks) when suddenly it hit me.

I felt sooooo tiny standing under that crowded sky. I just stood there, numbed by the realization that I was just one of a bazillion people thru time that looked up and wondered "What if?" or "How far away are they?" among other things before the feeling of being an insignificant speck in the whole meaning of things set in.

Too bad my hubby's scope is in storage, would have been a great night for stargazing & looking at the Moon.

Peace, everyone.

I feel that way sometimes. Then I think that even being the insignificant specks we are, we have the ability to grasp and understand some of that wonderful universe. Through our instruments we can see what the universe was like 12 billion years in the past, look for planets around other stars, and explore the planets of our own neighborhood. That, I think is powerful and significant.

I hope you get the scope out of storage soon!

SKY
2003-Jun-11, 03:44 PM
If insignificance has got you down...well this series of pics (http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2003/05/22/) won't make you feel any better. As I said in another thread, when I look at these pics is when I feel the most insignificant. :(

Crimson
2003-Jun-11, 03:52 PM
And now, for a contrarian viewpoint:

"Despite its grandeur, the cosmos is actually smaller than most people think. The observable universe stretches 14 billion light-years in all directions from Earth, but that sounds more impressive than it is. Shrink the Sun to the size of the period at the end of this sentence, and on the same scale our Galaxy would be far larger than the entire world; but shrink our *Galaxy* to the size of that period, and the observable universe would be only ten times larger than your living room."
--From Magnificent Universe by Ken Croswell (http://KenCroswell.com/magnificentuniverse.html), page 166.

Glom
2003-Jun-11, 03:53 PM
Has anyone read The Great Star Atlas of the Stars by Serge Bruiner. Very high quality pics. That helps to put things in perspective.

Bella Cheval
2003-Jun-11, 03:58 PM
Hubby's scope is a small scope----hopefully he'll have it at the house by this weekend. It was one of the few nice things that survived the exodus from his first marriage to the Thing That Should Not Be didn't get (I've met the lady and believe me, she is Utter Evil incarnate)and pawn off. He put it in storage years ago and just forgot about it until we started talking one night about Hailey's Comet and other astronomy type stuff.

We have a friend who has a scope that does, however, resemble a water heater and has been asked on MANY occasions, "Chuck, why do you have a hot water tank in the back of your car?" Now THAT scope, I want. I think you could see the buttons on a ET's jacket on Mars with it :lol:

But ya know, the insignificant feeling don't last long. I stare up at the skies and go "Wow. Science is neat. Nature is neat." And marvel at the beauty of it all.

Bella

kilopi
2003-Jun-11, 04:13 PM
"Despite its grandeur, the cosmos is actually smaller than most people think. The observable universe stretches 14 billion light-years in all directions from Earth, but that sounds more impressive than it is. Shrink the Sun to the size of the period at the end of this sentence, and on the same scale our Galaxy would be far larger than the entire world; but shrink our *Galaxy* to the size of that period, and the observable universe would be only ten times larger than your living room."
--From Magnificent Universe by Ken Croswell (http://KenCroswell.com/magnificentuniverse.html), page 166.
Interesting comparison.

My back of the envelope calculations would have the size of the Galaxy in the first part being not only larger than the world, but more like as large as the Sun! Did I do that right?

Glom
2003-Jun-11, 04:55 PM
And now, for a contrarian viewpoint:

"Despite its grandeur, the cosmos is actually smaller than most people think. The observable universe stretches 14 billion light-years in all directions from Earth, but that sounds more impressive than it is. Shrink the Sun to the size of the period at the end of this sentence, and on the same scale our Galaxy would be far larger than the entire world; but shrink our *Galaxy* to the size of that period, and the observable universe would be only ten times larger than your living room."
--From Magnificent Universe by Ken Croswell (http://KenCroswell.com/magnificentuniverse.html), page 166.

Yeah, and it we shrink the known universe to the size of a full stop it's actually very small. Huhuhuhuhu.

Bloody hell, will someone please give him an anti-depressant.

cyswxman
2003-Jun-11, 08:43 PM
This thread reminds me of Douglas Adams "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" and the part about the Total Perspective Vortex. You are put in it and the entire universe is then projected in it with a tiny arrow pointing to a tiny dot, saying "You Are Here", and you go mad!!! :x

pmcolt
2003-Jun-11, 08:58 PM
Bloody hell, will someone please give him an anti-depressant.

Well, just think of it this way: if you blew a hydrogen atom up to the size of a human body, you'd probably be about 3 billion kilometers tall. But, then you'd probably be so huge that you couldn't breathe or move or think, so be thankful. :)

BigJim
2003-Jun-12, 12:52 AM
You think you feel small enough already? Well, prepare to feel smaller.

This is a picture taken by Voyager 2 as it was leaving the solar system. Earth is the miniscule dot on the right.

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA00452_modest.jpg

Carl Sagan made a famous speech about this picture:

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

Feel small yet?

dgruss23
2003-Jun-12, 02:46 AM
Thanks Bella Cheval! Its easy to get so wrapped up in the day to day business that we sometimes forget to stop and ponder such things.

I find bringing out the telescope is relaxing and usually clears my mind. My wife finds working with her horses relaxing. Given the weather in our area she gets to relax more often than I so I guess I'll have to start working with the horses myself more often.

SKY
2003-Jun-12, 04:14 AM
...she gets to relax more often than I...

But you get to remain calm. :D

Glom
2003-Jun-12, 10:55 AM
Wow, BigJim, that is one hell of a speech. When's Big Brother on?

logicboy
2003-Jun-12, 04:33 PM
That is a wonderfull speech, when I read that post I had to spread it a round so I sent the image and the speech to everyone in my address book. Thanks BigJim

The Bad Astronomer
2003-Jun-12, 08:43 PM
No, no , no! You have it all wrong. You may feel small initially when looking at those pictures, but remember: we took them. A hundred years ago (actually, exactly that long ago) the very first powered plane flight took place. It took 24 more years before the first solo transatlantic flight. Now look! Crossing the Atlantic was a magnificent achievement, but now we can cross a whole solar system.

Small indeed. I feel a hundred meters tall.

Glom
2003-Jun-12, 08:48 PM
BA's in Kytano mode. But hopefully without the revelation that he's really Imhotep.

Since you brought up the issue of flight, I'll take this opportunity to mention that I've grown a bit bigger (pre-empting rst by saying that there's plenty of room for growth). I've actually flown a plane. 8)

g99
2003-Jun-12, 09:08 PM
I've actually flown a plane. 8)

What kind? I have always aspired to get a pilots license, but do not have the funds currently.

tracer
2003-Jun-13, 06:30 PM
Most early pilot training in the U.S. is done in light two-seat single-engine propeller-driven planes like the Cessna 152 or the Piper Tomahawk. After I got my private pilot certificate, I had to fly a Piper Cherokee 140 (the next size up from the Tomahawk) because I'm kinda pudgy and, well, me and a pudgy friend together would overload a Tomahawk. :oops: