Space Exploration

We may have put people on the moon, but when it comes to space, what we know is a drop, and what we don’t know is an ocean.

Let’s do the maths. The distance from earth to the moon is 384,400km. That’s the same as travelling from Cardiff to London over 1500 times. The distance from Earth to the Sun is 150,400,000km. If you flew in a jumbo jet, it would take you around 19 years to reach the Sun.

The nearest other star to us is Alpha Centauri, which is about 4.2 lightyears away. It would take the spacecraft Voyager 1 70,000 years to reach it. In that time, you could play Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up 10,512,000,000 times.

And that’s just two stars in our galaxy. The Milky Way is roughly 100,000 lightyears wide. That’s around 950,000,000,000,000,000km, 358,134,920,635 years in a jumbo jet, and 5,380,000,000,000,000,000 plays of Never Gonna Give You Up whilst riding in said jumbo jet.

The closest galaxy to here is Andromeda, which is around 2,500,000 lightyears away. The Milky Way and Andromeda are part of our Local Group of galaxies, which is about 9,800,000 lightyears in diameter. I haven’t worked out how many Never Gonna Give You Up plays that is in a jumbo jet, but we know that the song still wouldn’t have gotten boring. Our Local Group is a part of the Virgo Supercluster, which has a diameter of about 110,000,000 lightyears, and contains at least 100 galaxy groups similar to our Local Group. It goes on, and on, and on, far beyond the realms of our understanding.

And you’re worried about what filter to put on your Instagram post.