We all know that Earth is almost impossibly tiny in comparison to the universe. It’s those lessons that really help to offer some perspective on your role and place on the planet. When you consider how vast the universe truly is, small things—like when you can’t find your phone charger—suddenly become a lot less important.
Just take a look at these 30 pictures and facts about the known universe. Once you see them, you’re unlikely to ever think of yourself the same way ever again.
What’s even crazier is that this only the very beginning. Have a look and try not to feel humbled!
1. This is our home, planet Earth. Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that literally every human that has ever lived has lived here? What makes it even more interesting is that it’s comprised of 71 percent water and just 29 percent land.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
2. Our solar system can also be called “our local neighborhood.” Looking at it from a zoomed-out aerial view really shows just how small our planet is in comparison to several other planets—and the universe as a whole.
3. This is the distance, to scale, between the Earth and the moon. To think that we were able to send astronauts there in 1969 seems almost unfathomable. It also gives you a unique view of their size comparison. Did you realize our planet was so much larger?
4. To give you a sense of just how far the space between Earth and the moon really is, just take a look at this illustration. You can literally squeeze every other planet in our solar system into that distance—with space to spare!
5. If you think the Earth is gigantic, wait until you see some of the other planets—they are enormous! For instance, that little green speck you see is what North America would look like if it was place on the surface of Jupiter.
COMMENTS 1. This is the Earth – where every single human has ever lived. This is the Earth! This is where you live. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image / Via visibleearth.nasa.gov 2. And this is our local neighborhood, the solar system. And this is where you live in your neighborhood, the solar system. Via foxnews.com 3. Here’s the distance, to scale, between the Earth and the moon. It looks far, but is it? Here's the distance, to scale, between the Earth and the moon. Doesn't look too far, does it? 4. Nope. You can just about fit every planet in our solar system within that distance. THINK AGAIN. Inside that distance you can fit every planet in our solar system, nice and neatly. PerplexingPotato / Via reddit.com 5. But some of these planets are very large indeed. That green speck you see? That’s what North America would look like on Jupiter. But let's talk about planets. That little green smudge is North America on Jupiter. NASA / John Brady
6. You’ll also realize that the Earth isn’t so big when compared to the ringed planet Saturn. Just think: you could actually fit the entirety of six separate Earths within the width of Saturn’s rings.
7. In case you’ve ever wondered, this is what our point of view would be if Earth had rings like Saturn. That sure would be an incredible addition to our view of the moon, don’t you think? It’s like a scene from a sci-fi film!
8. A comet might look fairly tiny as it zips through the solar system from your perspective, but this view of what Los Angeles looks like compared to the size of an average comet will help you realize just how massive they truly are.
9. None of that compares to how small the Earth is in relation to the sun, however. Obviously, the sun is enormous, especially since it’s able to heat our planet and even burn your skin from such a great distance!
10. Here’s another comparison, just in case we’re not being clear. Remember when you saw how many Earths could fit inside of Saturn’s rings? Well, just take a look at how Saturn and the other planets stack up to our local star.
11. If you were on the moon, this is what your view of the Earth would look like. You would obviously have a crystal-clear view of the planet and its continents, but good luck trying to wave to anyone back home!
12. This is what Earth would look like from Mars. From this perspective, Earth would simply seem like another star in the night sky. In fact, if you were to have this point of view, you might not even notice it!
13. This is what Earth would look like from behind Saturn’s rings. You can see an assortment of stars in the universe from this perspective, and they’re practically the exact same size as Earth.
14. Famed American astronomer Carl Sagan once said that “everyone and everything you have ever known exists on that little speck.” The speck here is what Earth would look like from beyond Neptune four billion miles away.
15. Sagan also famously said that there are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth. The next time you’re sitting by the ocean and soaking up some sun, you’ll certainly look at your surroundings a bit differently.
16. It stands to reason, then, that there are stars that are far bigger than our sun. Just look at it scaled beside to the red hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris. This really shows you how gigantic stars can be.
17. VY Canis Majoris is by far the biggest known star in the universe. If you thought the sun looked small in comparison, consider this: it is one billion times bigger than our sun! That is absolutely massive!
18. If you were to decrease the size of our sun to the size of a white blood cell, and then reduced the size of the Milky Way galaxy using the same scale, the Milky Way would be the size of the United States. Is your mind blown yet?
19. This is what the Milky Way looks like in comparison to galaxy IC 1011, which is 350 million light years away from the Earth. Yes, our planet is so small in comparison that it doesn’t even register as anything more than a tiny speck!
20. There are thousands of galaxies in the universe, each containing millions of its own unique stars, and each with their own set of planets, too. This picture from the Hubble telescope demonstrates how this looks from outer space.
21. Ten billion light years away is the amazing spiral galaxy known as UDF 423 (Ultra Deep Field). If you were to view this image through a powerful telescope right now here on Earth, that would actually make it 10 billion years old.
22. Everything that we’ve seen in space through our various forms of exploration only represents a small fraction of the universe. To think there’s so much unexplored territory out there is actually quite mind-blowing.
23. As an example of just how vast the universe truly is, we’re going to start with the perspective of earth, and then zoom out from there. Are you ready? To us, our planet seems huge. After all, it’s where we all live, right?
Andrew Z Colvin
24. From the Earth, we zoom out even further to get to the Solar System. You may see all the names of the planets on the scale, but you’re not going to see much of them physically. They look like little specks from here.
25. A little further out, you’ll see a perspective of the Solar Interstellar Neighborhood, or the local Fluff, a cloud that stretches roughly 30 light years across the entire universe. Our solar system currently moves through it, too.
26. If we zoom out even further, here we have the perspective of the Milky Way. If you had any inclination to believe the Solar Interstellar Neighborhood was expansive, just look at it in a scale comparison to the Milky Way Galaxy.
27. The Local Galactic Group contains 54 separate galaxies, one of which is the Milky Way. Many of these are known as dwarf galaxies that are much smaller than ours. The gravitational center of this group lies between the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy.
Andrew Z Colvin
28. Incredibly, the zooming out doesn’t end there! If you want to feel even smaller now, just take a look at the Virgo supercluster. Not only is this collection of galaxies expansive, but it’s also one of the largest known structures in the cosmos.
Andrew Z. Colvin
29. From this perspective, we’ve certainly learned just how massive the Milky Way truly is, but we can’t even see it from way out here among the local superclusters. Our portion of the world is completely invisible from here.
Andrew Z. Colvin
30. And that’s it! This is the entire observable universe as we know it. These perspectives certainly make our lives seem pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things, don’t they? The universe is truly something special!
Andrew Z. Colvin
Talk about humbling. It makes you wonder what else there is out there that we don’t know about…
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