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Retired lawyer, now pursuing my lifetime interest in astronomy as a graduate student. My research field is AGN (active galactic nuclei) which are the large, bright areas surrounding black holes in distant galaxies. I also enjoy running, having done 10 marathons, 53 half marathons, and over 250 10Ks.

 

My station consists of a Yaesu FT-950, Yaesu VL-1000 amplifier and a K4AIO Hex beam at 11 meters.

 

The numbers that we work with are large and the size of the universe is enormous. As an example, everyone talks about the number one trillion, even in everyday life, such as raising the national debt ceiling by that amount. In science, we casuallywrite this number as 1012. Without using a calculator, just your intuition, how long would it take you to count to one trillion, if you counted one number per second: one, two, three, etc.?

 

The stars are very far away. The nearest star is about 4.3 light years away. The diameter of our Milky way galaxy is about 100,000 light years and it contains about 3 billion stars. There are at least 100 billion galaxies in the known universe; that which we would be able to see in what we call our event horizon. If we could borrow one of NASA's fastest rockets, how long do you think that it would take us to reach the very nearest star?

 

Think about the answer to these two questions and then scroll to the bottom of the page.

 

 

This shot was not taken through a telescope, but with my Canon 7D, using a 300mm lens and a 1.4X extender.

 

 

I also enjoy wildlife photography.

 

The answers to the questions: It would take 31,688 years to count to one trillion, counting one number every second. The nearest star is about 25 trillion miles away and would take almost 100,000 years to reach.As the saying goes "You can't get there from here". If you should decide to take this journey, the only advice that I can give you is to pack a BIG lunch.wink

97521 Last modified: 2013-02-14 20:05:57, 2883 bytes

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