Something that I loved learning about in this unit was putting the size of the earth in perspective. That is the main reason why I am fascinated by space- because the more we know about it, the more we realize how little we actually know and how small we are in the grand scheme of things. I learned that in order to try and fit all that we know about the solar system in a diagram to attempt to visualize the galaxy, we have to reduce the scale to a factor of 1 to 1019. Our entire solar system, which Earth is only a small part of, is represented on that diagram merely by a dot. That is crazy small!! There are other ways to measure the vast size of the galaxy as well, such as using stars. There are more than 100 billion stars in the galaxy. If you counted one star per second, it would take you 3000 years to count all of the stars! Furthermore, in terms of the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy that we live in is merely one of 100 billion large galaxies, not even including the many more small galaxies. That would mean that there would be approximately 1022 stars in the universe, which is like the amount of grains of sand on all of the beaches combined.
Putting ourselves into perspective like this is eye-opening. We get stressed by the things we have to complete in our day to day lives, always thinking that if we do something wrong, it will “be the end of the world.” However, as we can see how tiny we are, we can begin to understand how the world truly does not revolve around us. As this perspective can make some people feel like they can’t make a difference, I think it helps reduce feelings of pressure and stress and emphasizes that our lives are minuscule, so we might as well use our time to do something meaningful.