Blog: The U-n-I-Verse
by Chef JeM

How Big Is The Milky Way?

Conceptualizing a model of the Milky Way

Date:   12/9/2017 9:54:26 PM   ( 6 y ) ... viewed 1291 times

Inspired upon reading: "We are part of a spiral galaxy called the Milky Way, 100,000 light years across and our Sun is only one of it’s 200 billion stars. All the stars that you see in the night sky are part of the Milky Way Galaxy."[1]

How do we begin to conceptualize this? I thought a model would be helpful. There are 100 centimeters in a meter. If we use the centimeter to represent a "light year" then we need 100,000 centimeters for our "model". Then we need an area with a diameter of 0.6213712121 of a mile to set up or at least imagine our model. I'm originally from Chicago where we had eight city blocks to a mile. The above "diameter" would require about six and a quarter city blocks running north and south. I lived most of my years in Chicago on the NorthWest side between about 3400 North and about 4000 North which makes it relatively easy for me to imagine a six and a quarter block diameter. However - working with centimeters still requires a "real world" space larger than can be seen at ground level. The "model" would probably require an observation deck on the top floor of at last a ten story building to see the full circomfrance of the model. Even then you would have to bare in mind that the distance between each centimeter takes light a year to travel through space. If you measured just one hundred centimeters from the edge of the model where Earth would be located toward the opposite side that distance in space would require a life time to travel if one cold travel at the speed of light! How Big Is The Milky Way? Who can truly imagine it?



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