Mind-Blowing Facts About the Scale of the Universe

Mind-Blowing Facts About the Scale of the Universe

The universe, with its infinite expanse and countless celestial objects, is a source of ceaseless wonder and fascination. The more we learn about the vastness of the cosmos, the more we realize our minutiae in comparison. Here are some mind-blowing facts illustrating the true scale of the universe that houses us.

The Universe is expanding.

Contrary to what we might intuitively believe, the universe is not static. Instead, the observations made by Hubble showed that the universe is expanding, with galaxies moving away from us. It is estimated to be expanding at a rate of 68 kilometers per second per megaparsec, according to the latest measurements. To put it in perspective, for every 3.3 million light-years farther away a galaxy is from us, it appears to be moving 68 kilometers per second faster.

Most of the Universe is Dark.

Only around 5% of the universe consists of conventional matter or energy that we understand or are familiar with, such as stars, planets, and galaxies. The vast majority, about 95%, is made up of dark matter and dark energy, invisible entities that do not interact with regular matter and remain shrouded in mystery.

There are more stars in the Universe than grains of sand on Earth.

If we take into account all the beaches and deserts on Earth, the total number of sand grains is estimated to be around 7.5 x 10^18. However, astronomers argue that the universe may contain more than ten times this number of stars. To put it another way, for every grain of sand on earth, there could be ten stars shining in the cosmos.

The Universe is Really Phenomenally Big.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is so large that even light, travelling at its speed, takes about 100,000 years to travel from one end to another. To comprehend really big distances, we measure them in light-years, which is the distance that light travels in a year (approximately 9.46 trillion kilometers). And yet, the observable universe is estimated to be about 93 billion light-years in diameter.

We may not be Alone.

The sheer number of galaxies in the universe —estimated at 100 to 200 billion— coupled with the statistical fact each have countless stars and accompanying planetary bodies, the likelihood of other life-sustaining planets in the universe is rather high.

In conclusion, these facts serve to highlight the awe-inspiring magnitude of the universe we live in and the myriad mysteries still waiting to be unraveled. Our visceral understanding of space and time is continually challenged by these sights and sizes that are so colossal they're unfathomable.