So Small

Several times during the last few days, I have gone back to a series of images posted by an “information/entertainment” site on the internet. The images show the scale of the earth to objects in our solar system, then in our galaxy, then to a spot in the night sky about one-tenth the size of our moon, which, to the naked eye, appears to be nothing but empty blackness.

That empty black spot in the night sky is the field on which the Hubble Space Telescope was trained for a period of ten years, beginning in 2003.  The light captured during that period revealed a view of a tiny piece of the universe, a view that captured light from 13.2 billion light years away.  It revealed enormous numbers of galaxies in that tiny spot of darkness, and each of those galaxies contain as many as one trillion stars. An interesting video about the images can be found at

The scale is impossible for me to comprehend. One thing it does, though, is give me absolute certainty that, among the trillions upon trillions upon trillions of stars in the universe, there are others…and probably many…that host life in some form and probably many forms.

When I try to understand the scale of the images supplied by the Hubble, the best I can do is imagine earth as an atom in a universe the size of earth as we know it; and that may be making earth larger in the universe than it is.

“We” are so small.  But we think of ourselves as so important.  Perhaps we are, but importance is relative.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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