Measuring the Universe (08:48)
The observable universe contains 100 billion galaxies each containing over 100 billion stars making it difficult for scientists to quantify it in understandable terms; size is evaluated through measuring dimensions or calculating bulk. The sun, which is the most massive thing in our solar system, is a thousand times more massive than Jupiter, our biggest planet; however, there are many stars larger than our sun in the Milky Way galaxy.
Size of the Stars (09:45)
An astronomer visits an airplane hangar where he and several balloon experts attempt to demonstrate the size of some of the largest stars in our galaxy. The largest known star is VY Canis Majoris and is likely 2,000 times the diameter of our sun; the moon is 239,000 miles away from the Earth.
Measuring the Solar System (07:52)
A physicist and a surveyor create a demonstration to display how far each of the planets in our solar system is from the sun in quantifiable measurements; it is incredible that the sun has a gravitational pull and reflects its light onto all of the planets in the solar system. Scientists measure the distance to stars and galaxies by looking at their position in the sky and how bright they appear compared to their known power.
Speed in Space (07:04)
A lightyear is the distance light can travel in one year, about six trillion miles, and light speed is a 186,000 miles per second; an astronomer and a firearms experts measuring how fast a bullet flies towards its target. Light speed is so fast that the human mind is unable to comprehend it. According to astronomers, constant motion is the normal state of most objects within the universe.
Scaling Down the Universe (09:08)
Astronomer Laura Danly uses a group of students to demonstrate how far a scaled down model of Earth would be from the nearest paring of stars in the galaxy. Astronomer Greg Laughlin explains why it is important for the order of the solar system that the stars in the Milky Way have significant space between them.
Credits: How Big, How Far, How Fast (00:16)
Credits: How Big, How Far, How Fast
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