How Big is Infinity?  How Far is Forever?

How Big is Infinity?  How Far is Forever?

This is one is a bit more philosophical – how do you explain the vastness of space to someone new? Imagine you are at the holiday dinner table and are asked by your Grandma or cousin to explain to that “astronomy” class you are taking. You do a great job with the planets and stars, but someone asked, “Why does it take so long for light to travel? Just how far are those stars away from us?”I want you to come up with 100 word explanation of how you understand infinity or the infinite distances between us and planets, us and stars, and us and the rest of the universe (or how you might if you haven’t already) and the time it would take to get there. Feel free to get a little philosophical here, fluffy is fine.Some starting points:

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  1. A Youtube video showing the travel to different planets in the Solar System, but the camera moves at the speed of light.  Pretty fast, amirite?  Pretty slow changes, amirite?
  2. Click here to find links to various scale models of solar systems. These might be good starting points for thinking about the infinite distances out there in the inky void.
  3. Read the introduction to the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” – funny, short, and addictive book. A short quote “Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mind-boggling big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space. Listen and so on.”

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