You are looking at 84 million stars in the heart of the Milky Way -- how small do you feel now?

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/24/you-are-looking-at-84-million.html

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You wanna feel REALLY small? Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Worlds without end, worlds without end…

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… And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, cause there’s bugger-all down here on Earth

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Eh. That’s all within one galaxy. As a cosmologist, I think of galaxies as mathematical points exploring the potential function of the Universe as a whole.

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Living here in the center of Austin, I miss seeing stars. Lving at the edge ot Tulsa as a kid, I could be shown the big and little dippers. Lots of stars. Now, it is Venus, if anything that you can see here, Mars, if it is close enough. Possibly Jupiter at times. But no stars. None.

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It’s missing the “You are here” dot.

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More like, You were there.

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Now I have to know: what space dust is composed of? Kryptonite? Bellybutton lint? Anyone know or do I have to DuckDuckGo it?

I hear you.
Am outside of ATX by ~20 miles (approx, from downtown).

We can see the Milky Way on a clear night, the Pleiades, most large constellations, and of course meteor showers.
https://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-shower-calendar/

Some of my neighbors park in a good open spot, throw a quilt in the back of their pickup bed, and spend a few hours in the dark, staring up.

Feel free to message me if you want a glance at the night sky in Hays County, and consider bringing your telescope if you have one. I guarantee our night sky ain’t gonna last a whole lot longer.

FWIW, some of us:

… volunteer for Dark Skies Initiative actions. This one is west Texas but by way of explanation, fwiw: https://www.darksky.org/texas-collaboration-protects-dark-skies/

Sometimes the City of Drip gets one thing right:

:peace_symbol: :heart: :crescent_moon: and :star2: :star2:
from the Texas Hill Country

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What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

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In the words of Howard Kranz:

Sometimes I look into the stars, and it makes me feel so small.
Then I look at budding flowers, and feel big and clumsy after all.
Some say this world belongs to humankind; some say we are in charge.
And while we ourselves are very small, at least our ignorance is large.

– “Ignorance is Large” by Howard Ashby Kranz

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If you have to ask…

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No one did sarcasm quite like the Bard.

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I can see my house from here!

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Hilbert laughs at your infinitesimal slice of the wavefunction. :wink:

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bSNQz

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small

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“how small do you feel now?”

Before I answer that, let me look at some images from an electron microscope.

Ahhhhh. . . that’s better.

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