The Mind-Blowing Universe

The new James Webb space telescope is soon to be operating, and sending back images from parts of our universe never seen before.

That made me think about something that happened when I was in junior school, around seven or eight years old. (Before space travel) We were learning about the planets, and their distances from Earth.

Then the teacher showed us a photo of The Milky Way, taken by a telescope on a high mountain somewhere. Someone asked her how far away The Milky Way was. She talked about estimates, and said it was around 30,000 light years from us.

I had no concept of what a light year was. (To be honest, I still haven’t.)

Someone else asked her if The Milky Way was the end of outer space. She smiled, and shook her head. Then she said something I have never forgotten.

“The universe is limitless, so it has no end. The next nearest galaxy is two million light years from Earth.”.

Ten years before I ever tried mind-expanding drugs, her statement completely blew my mind.

Sixty-two years later, I still cannot get my head around the concept.

57 thoughts on “The Mind-Blowing Universe

    1. Yes, it will be looking at something that happened so long ago, we can’t even imagine it. But then we here on Earth still see the light from stars that exploded at the dawn of time. It makes my head spin!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t like to think about it too often either. I find it quite alarming that we’re floating around in limitless space and there’s not much chance of stepping off the planet to get away from everybody else, lol.

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  2. I certainly agree that it’s mindblowing! It’s kind of crazy how little we think about how much is actually out there. In a universe without limits.. anything is possible.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th graders astronomy. They could barely understand the concept that their city is a part of their state which is a part of their country which is apart of North America which is a part of the Earth. Now add that Earth is part of our solar system which is part of the Milky Way which is just one of billions of galaxies in our universe. And of course, scientists now believe there are unlimited universes in existence. https://phys.org/news/2010-12-scientists-evidence-universes.html
    It is a difficult concept to fathom, and even more difficult to teach to kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was very clued up on the countries on Earth, and my relationship to them. (London)
      But once it got past things I couldn’t see, like The Moon and The Sun, my brain started to spin around like a fairground ride.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think no matter how old we are, it will take some time before humanity can grasp of concept of infinite space. Aside from fractals, when you look for an image or map of the universe, it still has borders since we have not “seen” further.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. (1) Our solar system is in one of the arms of the Milky Way, which is in the shape of a spiral. So rather than question how far away the Milky Way is, one should question the distance to the center of the galaxy, or the distance to various stars within the galaxy.
    https://www.universetoday.com/65343/what-galaxy-is-the-earth-in/
    (2) The universe may indeed be limitless, but it’s possible that the galaxies and nebulae have not yet filled out the void that lies beyond. Also, there may have been more than one Big Bang, each with its own material that expands into surrounding space.
    (3) We’ve gone from the World Wide Web to the James Webb Space Telescope.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. As a requirement, I had a semester of astronomy when I was 17. One thing they told us was that a light year is the distance light can travel in a year….which somehow made it easier to attempt to grasp. The other thing which really stuck although it has never served any real purpose in my long life is the order of the planets: SMVEMAJSUNP: Students/Sun May/Mars Very/Venus Easily/Eart Master/Mars Astronomy/Asteroids Just/Jupiter Stay/Saturn Up/Uranus Nights/Neptune Practicing/Pluto…of course one of them has been demoted from planet status but I think I saw that they were re-thinking it….and of course I can’t remember if it’s Neptune or Pluto. Astronomy is fascinating but it blows my mind.

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  7. It’s totally mind blowing for someone like me. I’d like to think there must be more planets out there like ours (hopefully with less destructive mankind) but I don’t think we’ll ever know. Certainly not in my lifetime and who knows how much longer this phase of the earth has to last.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Frank. No edge? I doubt it has an edge. It would be like a ‘Flat Earth’. I might have to go to bed early tonight, to stop thinking about it! 6:14 pm here, so I have to finish cooking, and eat dinner. But my bed is calling!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  8. It is scary. I used to ask my mother questions like ‘So who made God?’ and wonder what the (much smaller then ) universe was inside, because it must be inside something else… I think that’s why people are happy to go shopping or knit and watch a soap, we need the mundane as we can’t cope with infinity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true, Janet. I like my routine, and try not to think too much about ‘infinity’. Otherwise, everything seems so pointless. I only thought about it today when I saw that new telescope report on the BBC News.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  9. P,

    It’s the universes behind that second universe that interest me…

    Will it be a disappointment if we discover life on other planets… and they’re idiots?

    K

    Liked by 1 person

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