"Space is big
. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. " -- Douglas AdamsThere are three times as many stars in the universe
as previously estimated, bringing the number to 300 sextillion, give or take a few. That's 300 with 21 zeros after it: 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. So how bit is that, anyway?
This is a million
This is a billion
. "If you received $1000 per day, seven days a week ... it would take 2737 years, 10 months, 7 days to reach a billion. But it would only take 2 years, 8 months, 26 days to reach a million."
This is a trillion
, using dollars.
To give you another frame of reference, a million seconds is 13 days, a billion seconds is 31 years, and a trillion seconds is 31,699 years.
This is a quadrillion
, if you counted using pennies.
This is a quintillion
. "This many pennies,if laid out flat like a carpet, would cover the surface of the earth - twice. If you look hard, you can still see the Sears Tower and other buildings at lower right. Another way to see it is to realize that Mt. Everest (29,000 ft.) is only 1,700 feet taller than this 27,300-foot cube.
"This is as far as we will go. Three trillion tons of pennies is quite enough. To imagine larger cubes, (stepping by factors of 1,000), just imagine cubes roughly ten times larger than the last one. For instance, one quintillion pennies makes the cube above - about 5 miles on each side. If you step up to one sextillion
, imagine a cube about 50 miles wide tall and thick."
Now take that cube of pennies, 50 miles on each side, and make 300 of them. That's how many stars we're talking about.
And that's before we take them all and spread them really, really far apart