I was floating in my pool a couple of weeks ago and noticed the moon way up in the bright blue sky. I began to ponder how far away the moon was and amazed at how humans made the trip up to the moon in 1969. I am amazed that we could do that with the technology that was available at that time. A little research shows that the moon is, on average, about 238,555 miles from Earth. That is quite the trip! My mind began to ask other questions and further internet research revealed that the Sun is about 93 millions miles from Earth. When I start looking above and thinking about the vastness of space, I realize just how small I am here on Earth in the big scheme of things.
Once you get past the distance from Earth to the Sun, distances begin to get measured in light years, a year of traveling at the speed of light (189,282 mile per second!). Our solar system including our sun and orbiting planets is estimated at .5 to 1 light year in diameter. Go further out and our Milky Way Galaxy is a much as 100 thousand light years across. It is estimated that there are over 100 billion galaxies in the universe. That is simply unbelievable and hard to wrap your mind around. I have seen some of the Hubble telescope images of distance galaxies and the images are simply amazing and show different shaped galaxies dotting space. Our own Milky Way Galaxy can only be depicted as an artist rendition because we haven't sent a camera out far enough to get an outside view. Our furthest spacecraft, Voyage 1, has been heading out to space for 46 years and is just now getting to the edge of our solar system. It would take another 40,000 years for it to exit our galaxy!
Yet, the majority of us think we are pretty big stuff! I tend to view the universe as rotating around me and my family. I picture my family sitting at a dining room table or at a gathering at my home and can visualize a giant rotating hurricane circling around us while we sit in the eye of the storm. My world is my small little circle while the rest of the universe rotates around us. Boy, do I have it all wrong! When I think of how vast the universe is, and how short a human life really is, I think of the Bible verse "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." James 4:14. Our time on earth is so small compared to the time that has passed and the time to come.
I see nothing wrong with my visualization of my family being the center of my universe. But, I should expand it a little and include other friends and acquaintances that I regularly interact with. I should expand it a little more and include those I can impact in some way through my living or giving.
Maybe, after reading this post, the next time you look up at the night sky, you will think about the vastness that surrounds us and realize we may not be as big a deal as we think we are!
Have you ever done some deep thinking about the vastness of space? Have you been impressed with some of the Hubble photos of space? Does the world rotate around you and your space? Have you expanded your space to include connections in your city, state or across the globe?