SCIENCE

7 Mind-Blowing Facts About The Universe To Put Your Ego In Check

It's time for a little perspective.

We are, as the saying goes, but a tiny speck.

And from time to time, it's important to put things into perspective. Or, as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson would tell you, have your mind blown.

Just consider for a moment that while Earth has an equatorial diameter of 7,926 miles, the Milky Way's is about 621,000,000,000,000,000 miles.

"If your ego starts out, 'I am important, I am big, I am special,' you're in for some disappointments when you look around at what we've discovered about the universe," Tyson once said. "No, you're not big. No, you're not. You're small in time and in space."

Fortunately, studies have shown that, in addition to an ego check, taking the time to experience awe and feel small can make people happier and less stressed

Below, seven facts from NASA that will blow your mind and bring you right back to Earth.

  • 1
    Our <a href="http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/sun" target="_blank">sun</a> is <a href="http://nasa.tumblr.com/post/1367623
    NASA/Tumblr -- Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation.
    Our sun is one of at least 100 billion stars, just in the Milky Way. Scientists calculate that there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, each one brimming with stars. There are more stars than grains of sand on all of Earth’s beaches combined. 

    In 1995, the first planet beyond our solar system was discovered. Now, thousands of planets orbiting sun-like stars, also known as exoplanets, have been found.
  • 2
    The <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/science/milky_way_galaxy.html" target="_blank">Milky Way</a> is a <a hre
    NASA/Tumblr
    The Milky Way is a huge city of stars, so big that even at the speed of light (which is fast!), it would take 100,000 years to travel across it.
  • 3
    Roughly 70 percent of the universe is made of <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/subject/6891/dark-energy-and-dark-matter/" target=
    NASA/Tumblr
    Roughly 70 percent of the universe is made of dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 25 percent. The rest -- everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter -- adds up to less than 5 percent of the universe.
  • 4
    If the sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be <a href="http://nasa.tumblr.com/post/136762377389/7-facts-tha
    NASA/Tumblr
    If the sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be the size of a nickel.
  • 5
    The sun accounts for almost <a href="http://nasa.tumblr.com/post/136762377389/7-facts-that-will-make-you-feel-very-small">all
    NASA/Tumblr
    The sun accounts for almost all of the mass in our solar system, leaving 0.2 percent for all the planets and everything else.
  • 6
    Edwin Hubble discovered that the <a href="http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/beyond/needtoknow" target="_blank">universe is
    NASA/Tumblr
    Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding and that at one point in time (14 billion years ago) the universe was all collected in just one point of space.
  • 7
    Four American spacecraft are <a href="http://nasa.tumblr.com/post/136762377389/7-facts-that-will-make-you-feel-very-small">he
    NASA/Tumblr
    Four American spacecraft are headed out of our solar system to what scientists call interstellar space. Voyager 1 is the farthest out -- more than 11 billion miles from our sun. It was the first man-made object to leave our solar system.

    Voyager 2 is speeding along at more than 39,000 mph, but will take more than 296,000 years to pass Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky.

 

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