the emptiness of space

From The Canon by Natalie Angier

“Beyond that, the gaps between scenic vistas become absurd and it’s best to settle in for a nice comfy coma. Assuming our little orrery of a solar system is tucked into a quiet neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey, you won’t reach the next stars — the Alpha Centauri triple star system — until somewhere just west of Omaha, or the star after that until the foothills of the Rockies. And in between astronomical objects is lots and lots of space, silky, sullen, inky-dinky space, plenty of nothing, nulls within voids. Just as the dominion of the very small, the interior of the atom is composed almost entirely of empty space, so, too, is the kingdom of the heavens. Nature, it seems, adores a vacuum.

Read more: http://www.delanceyplace.com/lf-index.php?p=2521#.U3SaYfmSySp#ixzz31mPzVqyH

“Don’t be fooled by the gorgeous pictures of dazzling pinwheel galaxies with sunnyside bulges in their midsections, either. They, too, are mostly ghostly: the average separation between stars is about 100,000 times greater than the distance between us and the Sun. Yes, our Milky Way has about 300 billion stars to its credit but those stars are dispersed across a chasmic piece of property 100,000 light-years in diameter. That’s roughly 6 trillion miles (the distance light travels in a year) multiplied by 100,000 … miles wide. Even using the shrunken scale of a citrus sun lying just twenty feet away from our sand-grain Earth, crossing the galaxy would require a trip of more than 24 million miles.”

Read more: http://www.delanceyplace.com/lf-index.php?p=2521#.U3SaYfmSySp#ixzz31mPvIx1a


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