It's easy to forget where we live. Not so much our neighborhood or our city, but rather the universe at large. Humans find ourselves locked up and focused on the minutiae of living on an objectively small planet in an objectively massive universe, and because of that we miss the bigger picture. People like Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson do their best to bring the universe down to us, but sometimes, we need each other to help us see the wonders around us.
Reddit user, u/Flopig, wanted you all to share the most fascinating bits about the universe when they asked:
What's the most amazing thing about the universe?
Clocks Don't Matter
It must be true that either
- It didn't exist, then it did
2. It has always existed
What even is time?
This Explains Humans Pretty Accurately
Matter, when subjected to enough energy and time, becomes sentient and ponders its own existence.
Like a really f-cked up diamond
No Chance To See It All
It's size compared to it's speed limit.
Edit: The visible universe is 98 billion light years across and only 13.8 billion years old. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light. It would take you longer than the universe has existed to reach most points in the visible universe even if you could travel at near light speed. That's if the universe was static, it's not, the universe isn't only expanding the rate of expansion is accelerating. The size of the greater universe is estimated to be 250 times larger than the visible universe and 7 trillion light years across. The overwhelming majority of the universe can never be seen because it's growing faster than light can travel across it.
Eventually all of the visible universe will be so far away that it's light will never reach us and the visible universe will be limited to our local cluster of galaxies.
Nothing Happens For A Reason
Imagine being transported to a parallel universe that was almost identical to our own.
Somewhere out in the vastness of that universe, there is a tiny planet.
This much is true in both universes.
On this planet, there is a beach, and on that beach, there is a small stone.
Once again, both universes are alike in this regard.
Beneath that stone, however, there are several million grains of sand, and while they are all are in precisely the same location in each universe, one of them – a tiny speck of particularly clear quartz, hewn from a larger whole millions of years before – has a single atom that is positioned a fraction of a femtometer differently than its twin in the mirror dimension.
You may think that such an insignificant difference would label these two universes as being functionally identical, and you would be right. In fact, they are so similar that the multiverse has long since combined them into one reality. That single atom in that tiny speck of sand on that lonesome beach on a distant planet merely occupies two spaces at once, seeming to an outside observer to vibrate back and forth at a predictable rate.
That every atom in existence seems to do the same is probably a coincidence.
To Borrow A Quote:
"Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."
-Arthur C. Clarke
We Are The Star Stuff
Plenty of things.
The way we perceive the universe. In its physical form, we think it's all around us, on a cosmic scale. But more than that- it inside all of us. We're made of each and every atom that the universe is comprised of.
It sounds super philosophical and like something a stoned person would say, but the distinctiveness within our universe is what sets everyone apart. The way each of us, made up of the same elements of this universe, yet manage to be so different. Perhaps you could say the greatest and rather miraculous thing of all is in-fact, life.
Magnets, Guys. Magnets.
It gave us magnets.
How do those work?
Magnets are f-cking magic. Aligning particles with each other makes them fly towards themselves? Miss me with that hobknocking physics bollocks.
It's Not For Our Benefit
That it doesn't exist to be observed.
In fact under different circumstances all of its trillions of stars and planets and oceans and moons and mountains could exist for billions of years without ever being observed by anyone.
They might very well have existed for 14 Billion years before consciousness was a thing here.
It Will Live Beyond Us
How young it is.
People look at the universe being 13.7 billion years old and say 'that is ancient'. That is nothing.
Stars will continue to form for another 100 trillion years. Even after that, stellar remnants will exist for quadrillions of years.
Black holes will still produce energy that can be used by intelligent civilizations for 10100 years.
Keep in mind if biological life doesn't destroy itself, we will just keep getting more and more knowledge. Its probably a safe bet that within 500 years (which is nothing on universal time scales) we will be an interstellar species that has long ago transcended biology.
There is no telling what our descendants will do for the remaining life of the universe. The 4-5 billion years of biological evolution of life on earth will be looked at as an embryonic stage for endless quintillions of years of real life to begin post-biology. They will view the universe as their oyster, a place of infinite possibilities while we are still just spending our days trying not to die and trying to avoid being punished by our brains with pain.
Think About This Next Time You Play "Go Fish"
One of my favorite is about the number of unique orders for cards in a standard 52 card deck.
I've seen a a really good explanation of how big 52! actually is.
Set a timer to count down 52! seconds (that's 8.0658x1067 seconds)
Stand on the equator, and take a step forward every billion years
When you've circled the earth once, take a drop of water from the Pacific Ocean, and keep going
When the Pacific Ocean is empty, lay a sheet of paper down, refill the ocean and carry on.
When your stack of paper reaches the sun, take a look at the timer.
The 3 left-most digits won't have changed. 8.063x1067 seconds left to go.
You have to repeat the whole process 1000 times to get 1/3 of the way through that time. 5.385x1067 seconds left to go.
So to kill that time you try something else.
Shuffle a deck of cards, deal yourself 5 cards every billion years
Each time you get a royal flush, buy a lottery ticket
Each time that ticket wins the jackpot, throw a grain of sand in the grand canyon
When the grand canyon's full, take 1oz of rock off Mount Everest, empty the canyon and carry on.
When Everest has been levelled, check the timer.
There's barely any change. 5.364x1067 seconds left.
You'd have to repeat this process 256 times to have run out the timer.
If I'm not mistaken, I read that every time you shuffle a deck of cards, chances are nobody ever shuffled it in that order. Probably no two random shuffles by anyone were ever the same.