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01-14-2009 09:52 PM  9 years agoPost 21
PilotDaz

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Seattle, WA

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InvertedDude,

You're absolutely right, it's dumbfounding and brings about a feeling of reverence. For me, not for a mythical creator but just for the sheer magnificence of it all.

For you avid non-fiction readers out there, a book I HIGHLY recommend is called The Varieties of Scientific Experience - A Personal View of the Search for God by the late Dr. Carl Sagan (click links for more info).

The same photo is included in the book, and he lays out a truly awe inspiring dissertation on the scale of what we are looking at in that photo.

I was unable to put the book down once I started reading it. I've now read it cover-to-cover twice and will probably read it a third time soon.

More on Carl Sagan here: http://www.carlsagan.com/

He was one of the greatest thinkers of our time.

~Team Collective Mayhem - "My anger management class really PISSES ME OFF!"

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01-15-2009 01:49 AM  9 years agoPost 22
GimbalFan (RIP)

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Big Coppitt Key, FL

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http://www.carlsagan.com He was one of the greatest thinkers of our time.
No question about it. I count him amongst my most favorite human beings of all. To me and many others he was the quintessential teacher of cosmology.
A really superb picture of what is only a few square minutes-of-arc of the sky. Extrapolate if you will, for the whole sky and try to imagine the size . . .
A solid conservative estimate is that galaxies average 150 billion stars each. Also solid is that presently there are roughly 200 billion detectable galaxies.

150,000,000,000 x 200,000,000,000 = 30,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

It's a high probability there's over 30 sextillian stars. Datsa really big number.

And if only one in a billion of those stars have (or had) planets . . . Hmmm . . .

Play along with Frank Drake until your mind feels properly boggled. Here's a description of the Frank Drake Equation. Here's where you can plug in your estimates for the values of the Equation's 7 separately-definable variables.

From that site:
"The real value of the Drake Equation is not in the answer itself, but the questions that are prompted when attempting to come up with an answer. Obviously there is a tremendous amount of guess work involved when filling in the variables. As we learn more from astronomy, biology, and other sciences, we'll be able to better estimate the answers..."
Ponder 'til boggled. Then -- just for the heluvit -- ponder a little bit more.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

op-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-t

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01-15-2009 01:50 AM  9 years agoPost 23
InvertedDude

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USA

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..
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01-15-2009 02:11 AM  9 years agoPost 24
GimbalFan (RIP)

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Big Coppitt Key, FL

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Possibly 20 septillian stars.
My brain can't fathon that number..
I was off by a factor of 1000. Corrected. Do dat make fathoming easier?

If stars were bytes, they'd equal 4 trillion 8 gigabyte USB thumbdrives.

Those 4 trillion Sandisk thumbdrives (neatly laid side by side, each layer laid snugly above the other) would fill a warehouse 30 ft high and 5 miles wide on each side. That's 25 square miles of 30' high floor space (0.7 cu" x 4 trillion).

If stars instead were Sandisk thumbdrives, that same 30-ft-high warehouse would instead cover 200 billion square miles, which is one thousand times the total surface area of Planet Earth (197 million square miles).

Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. . . .

Numbers are fun. BIG numbers are funner.

op-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-thwop-t

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