We’re not the centre of the Universe

We’re not the centre of the Universe:

Number of stars in the visible universe = 30 billion trillion (3×10²²)

(Pasted from <http://www.atlasoftheuniverse.com/universe.html>)

There are over two billion seconds in a 75-year lifetime. If that is your lifespan, then there are 12 trillion stars for every second of your life.

30,000,000,000,000 billion stars visible (there are more).
2.366820000 billion seconds = 75 years.

12,675,235,125,611.58 stars/second.

There are 12,675,235,125,612 stars per second (12.6 trillion) of a life. Each star could have a host of planets and other large bodies. In the Middle Ages, the model of the Universe had the lone Earth enclosed in spheres with God looking down from the heavens above. The Bible said that the Sun revolved around us.

The first planets outside of our solar system, while presumed to be there, were not discovered until very recently – in 1992. We’ve since discovered about 2,000. Applying estimates for our Milky Way, we might assume there are as many planets as stars. With 2,000 discovered, there are still about 30 billion trillion more. The number we have discovered is so small it has no impact on the number remaining – although finding the first was a big deal.

If God is not perched overhead, looking down on His special children, and if we are not the centre of the Universe, then what are we? What does it mean about God’s previously “revealed” truth? These were the sorts of questions faced by learned people of the time – and still. It shook their relationship with God and with the Church. Because of the import of these early discoveries, the Church was forced to act harshly in suppressing them as “errors.” They were errors because they contradicted God. To suggest that God, as reported in the Bible and as received by the Church, was wrong (or that the Church was misled and fallible) was heretical and earned death by burning.

A man peeks into the heavens
Flammarion engraving. Man peeks between heaven and the Earth to the cosmos (1888).

(If you tried to count the 12 trillion stars represented by the first second of your birth, and could count 5 per second, it would take you 80,331 years to count that first second’s stars.)

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