Tag Archives: galaxy

God’s Art: Boundless Abundance

Our universe is made almost entirely of space.

If our Earth were a marble, the sun would be a beach ball taller than me about a quarter mile, or two football fields, away.

The moon would be a BB some thirty marble widths away from the Earth marble.

If the sun were this two meter beach ball, the nearest star would be approximately as far away as Thien Ngon, South Vietnam was from Fort Atkinson, WI. That seemed really far.

(I scratched these ratio comparisons out myself, so I invite all of you to research the data to correct my conclusions. Please.)

I run out of meaningful comparisons to picture the Milky Way Galaxy, which is twenty five thousand times farther across than our sun is from the nearest star. And, this is only one mediocre galaxy in space.

I am grossly unsure of my calculations and comparisons, but brutally confident in my conclusion that our universe is created almost entirely of space.

Then, there is Terra Firma. Solid Earth? Our rocks, water, and air are all made of atoms, ions, and molecules separated from each other by relatively vast distances.

Even our tiniest particles, atoms, are made mostly of space. The simplest form of the Hydrogen atom consists of one proton and one electron. Magnifying our scale now by many orders of magnitude, if that proton were a marble, the electron might be a BB zipping around at an average distance of a quarter mile, or two football fields, from the marble proton. Space.

If you remember learning that the electron is larger than the proton, so did I. Actually, assigning a size to an electron at all is probably sophomoric, but this is a limited model to illustrate the point that most of our universe, including inside atoms, is space.

I marvel that these dimensions of space produce an Earth just the right size for gravity to hold an atmosphere without crushing a cell or an elephant. I wonder at our distance from the sun being perfect for water to exist in three phases that moderate our temperatures in a range
supporting life, at all. I wonder at the vastness of our country, especially as I travel through the west, contrasted with the limits of space we impose in our population centers. But, that is a topic for next week. I am amazed at the properties of atoms that result in changes existing as life, and that is a topic for next month.