Saturday, November 03, 2007

Size Does Matter

How many of you have seen this stupid phrase stuck on the back of an SUV? Usually just to the left of the Bush/Cheney sticker and right above the "Support Our Troops" ribbon. And yes, if you are fascinated by trivia, as I am, then it's important to know that France, with 211,209 square miles is indeed smaller than Texas by an area almost as large as Louisiana.

I'm sure most of those folks bragging about the size of their state probably couldn't guess within 100,000 square miles just how big it is. What's important is that it's bigger than France, and therefore better.

Texas really isn't much in the grand scheme of things. Lay Texas next to Brazil and you'll get the idea. Let's take this study to the planetary level and beyond.

Damn, that Jupiter sure is a large mo-fo. No damn wonder Pluto didn't make the cut after all.

Now comes the part where things not only get scary, but almost incomprehensible.

If the sun is our bowling ball, I'm staying away from the Arcturus bowling alley. Holy crap! And note the comment on the graphic: "Earth is invisible at this scale." Well, so much for the bragging rights of Texans!

Finally, the obliterator of all egos.

Whatever you do, don't say Betelgeuse three times.

Antares is the 15th brightest star in the sky. It is more than 1000 light years away. And you thought it was a long drive across Texas?

I'm not sure why we Americans think it's so important that God bless America. Or why some believe it'll be the end of civilization if two same-sex people tie the knot legally. Or why a Hillary Clinton presidency scares the crap out of so many of us. Maybe if we put ourselves in the correct cosmic perspective, we could get over ourselves.

In case you are wondering if there are any celestial orbs larger than Antares, there are. My Cephei and W Cephei are each more than three times the size of Antares.