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The Universe

If you were to hold out a dime at arm’s length, the coin would block out 15 million stars from your view, if your eyes could see with that power.

To help us grasp the vastness of our galaxy, one scientist suggests we imagine a smooth glass surface. Shrink the sun from 865,000 miles in diameter to two feet and place it on the surface. Using this scale, Earth would be 220 paces out from the sun, and would be the size of a pea. Mars, the size of a pinhead, would be 108 paces beyond Earth. But to reach Neptune, you’d need to step off another 6,130 paces from Mars. By now you would be five miles from the sun—but there still wouldn’t be room on the glass surface for Pluto! And you would have to pace off 6,720 miles beyond Pluto to reach the nearest star. Yet, this glass model represents only a tiny fraction of the universe.

Today in the Word, July, 1990, p. 6