Neil DeGrasse Tyson said it best. The universe has always made things in bunches. We thought Earth was the only planet, turns out the solar system is filled with them. We thought there was one sun, but hold up, there are billions in our galaxy. We believed that there was only one galaxy, yet once again, we were wrong. There are billions. We thought there was one universe, but now there’s reason to believe that we exist in a multiverse. Where billions of universe roam the empty space. If there is empty space. Now before your mind completely blows up, I’m going to slow it down, and break down the one thing we do know, our universe.
It’s quite hard to put into to context the size and age of the universe, but as Carl Sagan first demonstrated on his show “Cosmos”, it may be a little easier if you scrunched it all up into one year. If you were to compress the entire age of our universe into a year, each month would represent approximately one billion years. And each day would be about 35 million years. The universe is 13.8 billion years old, and there’s quite a lot of “stuff” to cover.
So where do we start? January 1st, at 12:00 am with the big bang. It was a big explosion. Compressed into about the size of a marble, the big bang spewed out so much energy and so much matter, that it shapes our entire universe. Now, we can’t be 100% sure that the big bang happened, but there is sufficient evidence to prove that it did. Cosmic radiations still travel through the universe from the time of the big bang, and they are reminiscence of what was once the big bang.
For billions of years, dust just wandered the empty space until there was enough gravity to form stars, and then they started to clump up into things called galaxies. Now keeping in mind that the universe is 13.8 billion years old, I’m going to skip to rather important dates in the calendar, with the next one being March 15th. The birth of the Milky Way. Our Milky Way has somewhere around 100-400 billion stars, which form a spiral formation. At the centre of the Milky Way it is said to be a super-massive black hole, with the mass of 40 000 stars, whose light has been sucked into the vast unknown of the black hole. But don’t worry, we’re safe.
August 31st is the next big date on the cosmic calendar. Our Sun is born. Among the cosmic clouds and dust, it emerged. And with that, the only home we’ve ever known was born too, the Earth. Our Earth is 4.5 billion years old, but Earth back then looked nothing like the Earth does now. Rocky and volcanic, it could not harbour life for the next half a billion years. Unfortunately, no one knows when or how life on earth began, but some say that life on Earth existed at least 3.5 billion years ago, or September 28th on the cosmic calendar. This would be the day when life was introduced to the only planet we know that has ever sustained life. Perhaps someday in the future we will know exactly when and how life began on Earth.
Now you’re probably wondering when do we come into the story. 15 seconds ago, the first cities in Mesopotamia were built. All of recorded history took place within the last 13 seconds of the cosmic calendar. 11 seconds ago, the wheel was invented, six seconds ago Buddha was born, five seconds ago Christ was born, four seconds Muhammed. Four seconds ago we still believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe, and it was just one second ago that Christopher Columbus connected the West and the East. All of humanity, since our times in Africa, has consisted of the last four minutes of the cosmic calendar.
It is phenomenal that we have the capacity to understand the cosmos. Phenomenal that we can even create this cosmic calendar. Think of all the scientists that dedicated their lives to proving little things that helped build the larger picture that is the cosmos. The one thing that’s always been going for us has been our intelligence, yet only in the last three seconds of the cosmic calendar were we able to realize that the universe is the way it is. We have been able to look back in time and understand the origins and developments of our universe, even though we only exist for the last four minutes of the year. It’s hard to believe that one second ago we thought the world was flat. Boy, have we come a long way since then.
Now if you’re thinking that we’re the end of the line, that this is how humanity has evolved and now we are the end product of all this evolution, you’d be wrong. With just ten seconds, maybe even five seconds further into this cosmic calendar, we could be to the new human race, what Neanderthals are to us. We are at the forefront of a scientific evolution, and this is just the beginning.
Photo Credit @ dracozlat | Dollar Photo Club