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The Universal Challenge

Rick Green PhotoI know a lot of people with ADHD / ADD.  Whaddya expect, I work in show business. (And yes, I know,  “You call that work?!”)

One of my friends, Glenn, is a television writer, a pilot, and an astronomy enthusiast.

He and his wife Michelle live up north, and the number of stars they can see at night is breathtaking.

Now, I actually took Astronomy in University, but you know how school tends to completely squeeze the joy and excitement out of things.

So when Glenn told me the following stuff, I was amazed.

First of all, there are a lot of stars. I know that.

But Glenn explained that if you hold out a pin at arm’s length … in any direction, including down, it blocks out part of the sky. (If you hold it down, you have to imagine the earth isn’t there, and you’re blocking the sky on the other side of the planet, right? Okay, if you don’t get it, then just imagine holding it up at night so it’s at arms length.)

The pin blocks out a tiny bit of the sky, right?

How Many Galaxies?

Behind the head of that pin are roughly 50,000 Galaxies! Not stars. Galaxies.

Galaxies are collections of a huge numbers of stars. Each Galaxy contains an average of 100 Billion stars. And remember, Our Sun is a star – just relatively close. But you knew that.

Our own Milky Way Galaxy is larger than average – approximately 200 Billion stars or suns. The Andromeda Galaxy is even bigger with – best guess – 300 Billion Star/Suns.

Current best guess for number of Galaxies in our known Universe (including Dwarf Galaxies) – One Trillion! That’s a million, millions!

It’s such a big number it’s only used to describe atoms or national debts.

The majority of Star/Suns have “Worlds” in orbit around them … Planets … Moons … Asteroids … Comets … and various other refuse left over from our Solar System’s creation.

Counting Comets & Asteroids, there are well over a Billion “Worlds” in our Solar System alone. (Over 1,000 Pluto-like Worlds discovered in the past decade {including Eris, which is bigger than Pluto} and that number will only go up.)

Glenn had my head spinning. Like a planet does. And you may have heard, astronomers announced that they have found a planet that is earth’s twin in another solar system.

The point of all this…

No wonder I feel like I’m overwhelmed all the time! It’s not my ADHD. There’s just too much happening!!! And so much I want to learn about. I’m thinking of moving to an alternate universe. Wanna join me?



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  1. papabearaz November 1, 2015 at 12:41 am

    I had the stellar exprience of sitting in on a lecture at Cornell University with Dr. Carl Sagan, who coined the phrase ‘billions and billions’ of stars. Apparently, the universe is trying to keep up with inflation… it’s now ‘trillions and trillions’ of stars!

  2. Fearwidg November 2, 2015 at 4:40 am

    I didn’t know Rick Green was actually “PAYING ATTENTION” when I told him all this stuff.
    I’m AMAZED! (veg)
    Not only that, but he got all the facts RIGHT!!!
    How often do you see THAT in the media (social or otherwise)?
    (Well… Michelle’s not my “wife,” she’s my Partner, but – “close.”)
    Well done, Rick. I’m truly humbled by your comment (which – as anyone who knows me – is a RARE state indeed). (vbg)
    You and Ava are going to have to come up to the clear, dark skies of Southgate Township next spring when we open our new Observatory in partnership with The Camp Thrive Project – a “ground-breaking” camp for teens with Autism {AND ADHD} located just 5 minutes from our house.
    Here are a few more concepts to continue boggling your mind:
    Gravity doesn’t “pull us down” to the Earth’s surface – warped space/time (created by Earth’s “Gravity Well”) PUSHES us down!
    When you lie on your back – staring at a nighttime sky full of stars – you could just as easily be looking DOWN as UP!
    It’s only our Northern-Hemisphere Chauvinism that makes us think “North is Up.”
    But as the Sun and its retinue of “worlds” is heading north, in the general direction of “the solar apex” (southwest of the star Vega near the constellation of Hercules), we’re either “falling up” or got it wrong and the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE is the true “up.”
    (Which makes sense as most of the continents have “slid down” and collected in a clump at “the bottom.”) {vbg}
    Of course, there is NO Up or Down in space – but the next time you’re lying on the ground (with warped space/time PUSHING you onto the surface), imagine that all those stars are BELOW you instead of above.
    You’ll probably find yourself experiencing a touch of vertigo – and CLINGING to the grass beneath you. (vbg)
    I’d better stop as I tend to “go on” (I have severe ADHD). (g)
    But thanks for the kind words, my friend…
    PS: Re “Alternative Universes”…
    We moved there DECADES ago.
    It’s called the hamlet of Cedarville, ON. – and you’re welcome to join us anytime.

  3. ellenpa2000 November 3, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Rick, so glad to see your blog here about what Glenn told you, and I will happily join you in thinking about THIS universe with all the complications. Wonderful!
    Or would you rather go to an emptier universe? well, ours will be in due time, only the local group of galaxies will stay with us (Andromeda, Magellanic “Cloud” and M33 with a total of 54 smaller galaxies. The rest of the galaxies will be so far away that we won’t see them anymore (this of course is so far in the future, that it has no consequence for us).
    By the way Pluto is since the fly by of New Horizons larger (by 30 km diameter) than Eris. But who cares, there’s a lot of those out there in the Kuiper Belt :-). It seems that right now, because of increasing facts and knowledge our nearby universe is getting more crowded.
    Greetings from another (glider) pilot and loooong time astronomy (comets especially) enthusiast and friend of Glenn’s and Michelle’s.
    Ellen (not in the north anymore, but conveniently in the city, not good for astro though)

  4. Rick November 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    It’s funny Ellen, how once you start flying, especially if you fly at night, you get interested in Astronomy as well. Eventually. You know, it’s kind of like… I’m this far up and the view is amazing, what’s it like even higher?

  5. Rick November 12, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    And Glenn – aka Fearwidg, I’m glad I got the numbers right.
    I majored in Physics at University (And we can see how well that served me.) but the only two courses that really sparked my curiosity and took me out of myself were Astronomy and ‘Relativity & Quantum Mechanics.’ And while Relativity was fascinating at first, when it got to a certain point the descriptions and pictures and analogies no longer helped… As one teacher said, “Everything you know about Physics and how things work will become a hinderance to understanding.” In other words, ‘We’re not in Kansas any more.
    But astronomy always held my attention because it was always grounded in what was real. Even though much of it was, and is, speculation.

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