These Facts About How Big Space Actually Is Will Make Your Head Hurt And Give You An Existential Crisis

Just yesterday, NASA released a brand-new image taken by the James Webb Telescope. It shows thousands of galaxies in space. It's impressive. EXTREMELY impressive.

It's clear from this image that there are countless galaxies we can see. But mostly, it proves just how tiny we (as a planet) are. To put this image in perspective, if you took ONE grain of sand and held it up to the sky, this picture would be that one grain of sand. So basically, nothing.


Let's rewind, though, and start smaller.

First, let's talk about Earth. This image is not "upside down." In space, there is no upside down. The earth just exists out there — up is down and down is up. None of our normal "directions" even matter. IT'S JUST FLOATIN'.

A picture of the Earth from space, where North America appears to be in the southern half of the picture
Here's The Earth

And compared to other planets, we are just a lil' baby. See that red spot on Jupiter? Earth is smaller than it. Our entire planet fits in a pimple on Jupiter.

The Earth photoshopped into a spot on Jupiter, which conveys just how much smaller Earth is

And Saturn? Saturn is a BIG BOI. Earth is diddly squat compared to that gaseous planet.

Six Earths photoshopped into an image of Saturn, where the six Earths only take up one part of Saturn's ring

But even with how giant they are, every planet could comfortably fit in between Earth and the moon, with room to spare. That's how far away our moon is.

An image that photoshops every planet in our solar system in between the Earth and moon

Now let's discuss the sun. It is big and we are small. That's a solar flare on the sun and what Earth would look like next to it.

The Earth photoshopped into a rendering of the sun, with the Earth being smaller than even the flare coming off the sun

And another image to give you a better picture.

A larger flare makes the Earth look even smaller by comparison

Our planet is but a speck of dust compared to the sun.

See those tiny things to the left of the bigger planet on the bottom right? One of those is Earth.

Mercury is also small. It's that little black dot right there. Basically, the sun is BIG!

But our sun compared to other suns is teensy weensy. It's almost embarassing!

Okay, now let's zoom out a bit. This is our galaxy, the Milky Way, with our sun located right there.

An external shot of the Milky Way, with an arrow pointing out the location of the sun; it's so small it would not be visible without the arrow point it out

We are not in the center of our galaxy at all. What we are on is an outer spiral, called Orion's arm. So not only does the universe not revolve around us, but our galaxy doesn't either.

Another arrow shows the relative location of our solar system, which is away from the glowing center of the galaxy and in one of the arms spiraling outside it

Outside of our solar system, the closest star is 5 million years away by plane.

That star system comprises Alpha Centauri, Proxima Centauri, and Alpha Centauri B.

In the Milky Way galaxy ALONE, there are hundreds of thousands of stars. (And don't forget that there are practically an infinite number of galaxies, meaning there are a GABAJILLION STARS.)

If you were to travel across the entire galaxy, it would take 1,700,000,000 years — or 100,000 light years. And it consists of hundreds of thousands of stars. Again, the closest one being 5 million years away.

Beyond our galaxy, our closest neighboring galaxy is Andromeda. They are 2.5 million light years away. The amount of miles that is doesn't even fit on a calculator.

Our galaxy and Andromeda are part of a group of galaxies, literally called "The Local Group."

But then there's the not-so-local groups. AKA SUPERCLUSTERS. We're in the Virgo one. And here's our supercluster in relation to a bunch of other ones. So far, we have galaxies upon galaxies.

An arrow points out the location of the Virgo supercluster, which is a tiny dot on the map of local superclusters in general


After the Virgo supercluster comes the Laniakea supercluster, which is home to many smaller superclusters like ours.

An image of the Laniakea supercluster, which says it contains 100,000 galaxies


An image showing groups of superclusters, which says it contains billions of galaxies

But beyond just realizing that space is expanding daily and truthfully larger than any of us can comprehend, it's also full of crazy shit.

Like, this is an image of a dying star. It looks fake.

A glowing circle pulses with blue light and is surrounded by fading red and purple lines

And this is something called the Carina Nebula. TBH, no idea what it is, but it looks cool and I think it's where parts of Avatar were filmed.

An image of the nebula in space, with part of the light joining together to resemble a rock formation with blue light emanating from it

Also, it's full of black holes that can swallow us in one bite!

In black holes, you can get "spaghettified." Sounds fun, but I don't think it is.

A glowing blue mass on the left side of the image has a long and thin red line of light protruding from it and running across the rest of the image

But don't worry, if a black hole doesn't swallow us, at some point in time, our galaxy will collide with our neighbor galaxy. You'll be long dead before that happens, though. :)

Here's a quick lil' video to recap what we just talked about. And remember — life is meaningless and you're alive for but a blip in time.