Our Trip Around the Galaxy

I read a few of these figures in a book I’m into right now, and I figured I’d expand on the math a bit and put it into visual terms…

It takes the sun 226 million years to orbit the Milky Way galaxy, a trip that it (along with our whole solar system) has made about 20 times since the sun ‘turned on.’

If you imagine the galaxy like a giant clock, 100k light years across, if we’re at 6 o’clock, it would take 113 million years to tick-tock through 6 hours on that clock to noon.  Noon being 100k light years away, if we could ‘look’ straight through to the other side.

If you allow a generous estimate that humans we know them were first seen on earth about 150,000 years ago, we’ve only been a part of about 28 seconds of one lap around that giant galaxy-as-a-clock thing.

The sun has been around that clock 20 times, 10 days worth of ‘imaginary clock’ time, and we as humans haven’t even seen a full 30 seconds. We…are pretty small.

 

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5 thoughts on “Our Trip Around the Galaxy

  1. Colleen says:

    Pretty awesome stuff! It’s crazy to think how small we really are. Thanks for explaining it in “Colleen” terms!

  2. songbirdrw says:

    How “on earth” 🙂 do they know that the sun has made 20 laps?

    • Joe says:

      Great question! First off…I, am not a physicist…however, from what I have read…we know what the sun is made of, we know how much of that stuff there is, it’s mass, and just how big it is all together. With that in mind, you can work backwards to see how long it has been burning its fuel to be the size it is, and made up of the stuff it is; slowly changing hydrogen into helium. It comes out to being between 4.5-5 billion years old, so..from there just divide roughly by 226 million and you get approximately (give or take a lap) 20 laps.

      • songbirdrw says:

        hmmm… that makes sense to me except that how would we know how big it started out to be in the first place? the phrase “beyond all human understanding…” must apply here. At least for THIS human! 🙂 thanks for the explanation JZ!

  3. Bruce says:

    So if I have 15 minutes of fame, that calculates out to……. OW! my head hurts!

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