Sunday, August 26, 2007


I read a news article from Reuters on Thursday, August 23, 2007. The first part follows:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A giant hole in the Universe is devoid of galaxies, stars and even lacks dark matter, astronomers said on Thursday.

The team at the University of Minnesota said the void is nearly a billion light-years across and they have no idea why it is there.

"Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size," said astronomy professor Lawrence Rudnick.
A light year is a little less than 6 trillion miles (6 with 12 zeros). A billion is 9 zeros. So that's a total of 6 with 21 zeros. That's really, really big. And we didn't know it was there - or not there - as you prefer.

Sometimes I can see very small living things. If I am walking through the pasture for instance I might stop at a red ant bed and watch them for a while. I am so much larger than they are and yet for the most part if I am careful about where I step they seem to be unaware of my presence. And believe me that's best.

Or I've seen these really tiny little spiders on the tile floor in one of the bathrooms. They are much smaller than the ants. But I can still see them and they are spiders. I think they are fascinating in themselves but what really impresses me is that because I see them I can infer that there must be yet smaller creatures that the little spiders eat. They pay me absolutely no attention. I know that there are things even smaller that can only be seen with microscopes.

And I know the universe is so huge and it is filled with so much larger things compared to us. Even large empty things. It is rather amazing that we just found this really, really huge empty area. It has been there all along and it is just unimaginably big. But we didn't know about it.

Sometimes I wonder if we are like the ants or the little spiders or even the microbes and we are just so small we are unable to see the really big things around us.

That's it - no point to this - just something I was thinking about.


~Betsy said...

Interesting post, Flinty. I have also thought about things like this when I watch the wood ants outside working on the retaining wall. They work so hard at whatever their task is for the day and they don't seem to notice me at all unless they feel the vibrations from my foot steps. Then they stop in their tracks as if I won't see them any longer if they don't move.

Sometimes I think we humans miss the big picture in life. We are so busy attending to the task at hand that we forget to notice.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Lori1955 said...

Oh I am sure we don't see the big things, the big picture. If I did, I wouldn't worry about anything.
Now flinty, the difference between you country folks and us city folks is that I would have stepped on the ants and the spider and then would have gotten out the bug spray. LOL

nancy said...

you're right, the world is so much bigger than most of us can even fathom. i remember thinking that the first time i went out west and saw the great open space. imagine how that looks from a bug's eye view!