Welcome to Marlboro country

Have you ever felt like an angel dancing on the head of a pin? Or maybe just a halfwit staggering about drunk on a mustard seed? If you’ve ever felt like an ant to an elephant, or a plankton to a sperm whale, have a look at this and see what a grandiose inflation you’ve made of your importance to the universe.

Start with the size of the known universe and zoom in a gejillion times, now you come to something called “a jet of sub-atomic particles flung out by a super massive black hole at the centre of the M87 galaxy in the Virgo cluster.” Loosely translated, this is a star’s poo. And it’s still about four trillion times bigger than the planet we live on.

There’s a star called “WOH,” which it would take 1,200 years to travel around in an aeroplane. That’s 1.3 of Yoda’s lives. Or 11.7 Queen Mothers. (You’d have to be unlucky to get stuck between those two on a long-haul flight though).

At the other end of the scale, smaller than atoms and the wavelength of x-rays, tinier than an atom’s nucleus, a Quark, and the little bits of Lego that Korean boys make Quarks out of, there’s the Planck length: 10-35m. “Any length shorter makes no physical sense.”

Sadly, given that to say “Any length shorter makes no physical sense” makes no sense to me, my yoctoscopic world is, by definition, a little smaller (or larger depending how you look at it) than that of someone with a bigger brain than mine.

Can someone please explain it in terms a mustard-seed-staggering halfwit can understand? Give me back my yoctocosm.

~ by David Thorley on October 19, 2010.

One Response to “Welcome to Marlboro country”

  1. […] And, while we’re thinking about blogs past, there’s the length for which any length shorter makes no physical sense. […]

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