File:He1523a.jpgSpace is very big.

There are of the order of a hundred billion galaxies, each with a hundred billion stars. It is 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang- the consensus was 13.7 billion years until recently.

InFile:HR2667ESODSS.png the beginning all matter was hydrogen. Hydrogen atoms are bonded together into helium in stars, and this fusion produces their energy. In smaller stars when the hydrogen is exhausted, they go out, but in larger stars the helium fuses, and then the products fuse to produce heavier elements. Even uranium, with an atomic weight of 238, was produced in this way. Then the stars explode, and the atoms are scattered through the universe: some elements are created in the supernova explosion. Other atoms are produced by cosmic rays interacting with atoms, or by radioactive decay. Some helium and lithium were produced in the Big Bang.

File:Hubble image of LRLL 54361 and its surroundings.jpgVY Canis Majoris has a radius about 1420 times greater than the Sun’s radius, or 6.6 astronomical units: by comparison, Jupiter is 5.2 AU from the Sun. The Scattered disc, comprised of objects orbiting at the greatest distance from the sun, stretches out beyond a hundred astronomical units.

One light year is 63,239 AU,File:RhoGem2MASS.png and our galaxy is about 100,000 light years in diameter. Andromeda, the nearest other galaxy, is estimated at 2.57 million light years away, and will collide with the Milky Way in about 4.5 billion years. The sun will begin to die in five billion years.

File:(KappaLyrae) (kLyr) (HIP89826).pngBy the most popular theory, the Universe will continue to expand, and suffer heat death in about a google years. Then, there will be no thermodynamic free energy left, no energy to perform any work or support life. In this state, it may subsist eternally.

One religious response to this is denial: the Earth is only about six thousand years old, and marsupials walked from the Ark on Mount Ararat to Australia before God broke up Pangaea. Mine is awe: I really do believe in impossible things, and God is scarcely more impossible. Why God should take such a particular interest in this planet- well, we are here, and God does. What God thinks about all the rest of it is known to God.

6 thoughts on “Cosmos

  1. Well my own personal perception, as an atheist (and many others think likewise) is this. We now know that the Bible is incorrect and that creationism is absurd and impossible. The ‘receding God’ has been pushed beyond space/time completely. However, that leaves the question what created the Big Bang? Even if the multiverse hypothesis is correct, that merely poses the question where, when and how did it all begin? And there is only one correct and logical answer to that, “We don’t know.” – nobody does. But because we don’t know, then ALL possibilities have equal value, including the possibility of creation by God.


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