Of course, it would burn up in the process, but whatever. The following is one of those size and scale videos mainly showing the relative size of our planets and selected stars, then making quick reference to other larger scale structures. It is a good video (hat tip: Joe) but it does have a major flaw: It demonstrates that the earth is small, then it demonstrates that there are many other big structures in the galaxy, then it concludes that we are not the center of the universe. But being small does not make us NOT the center of the universe.

They’ve mixed up their fallacies here. Either they’ve conflated bigosity with centrality, or they’ve taken importance for geography. In any event, being told that you are very small is not the same thing as being told that you are not the center of the Universe.

Comments

  1. #1 MadScientist
    December 12, 2010

    For me that suggests that nothing can orbit the largest star unless it has an orbital period of over 1000 years. For example, a 747 cruising at ~900km/h (well, typical cruise speed is lower than that – that’s closed to top speed) will take about 200 days to travel around at the surface of the sun. However, a 747 parked on the planet Mercury will travel around the sun in a mere 88 days (and you can even park it somewhere where it won’t be destroyed). For our own star, simulations suggest that planets could exist in a stable orbit much closer than Mercury, so if there were such a planet and the 747 were parked on that, it would make it around the sun even quicker.

    As for the center of the universe – I thought we should be able to take any location as the center because it really doesn’t matter. No matter which direction we look we seem to see about the same amount of matter – how far we can see is limited by other factors and we can see far enough that we know odds are we will have no idea what lies beyond in any direction. But who knows – maybe one day someone will come up with a brilliant idea and find evidence to be able to say “the big bang originated from *that* direction”.

  2. #2 billnut
    December 12, 2010

    You make a good point MadScientist. We are at the center of the universe but that’s nothing special, everything is!

  3. #3 billnut
    December 12, 2010

    That’s right MadScientist. We are at the center of the universe but that’s nothing special, everything is!

  4. #4 HJ Hornbeck
    December 13, 2010

    Interestingly, by careful measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation, scientists have determined that we’re moving, relative to it. This implies:

    a) the Big Bang was asymmetric, or
    b) we’re in motion relative to the “starting location,” as most people would define such things.

    HJ Hornbeck

  5. #5 Knightly
    December 13, 2010

    Is that with or without the stopover at Heathrow? :D

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    December 13, 2010

    stopover at Heathrow = 250 extra years and your bags will be diverted to gatwick.