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The most important image ever taken

The universe is a big place. We hear about how big it is when ever we go to planetarium. But knowing something is big and being able to visualize it are two different things. We go about driving to work, cooking dinner, posting our videos on Youtube and its all too easy to forget about the rest of the universe. Afterall, we have much better things to do than think about how big the universe is.


The point here is, the universe is just so big that our brain is not made to hear and process large numbers like this. We orbit around sun, one of the 500,000 Million stars from our galaxy. This image from Hubble telescopes shows that there are billion-times-trillion such galaxies in the universe. The number is so big that the probability of not having life in some other planet is almost zero. Watch this remarkable video to be amazed.

Its too big that it makes human life too small to fight, being jealous and get angry. The things we cry about daily does not matter at all. The universe is spread across 46 billion light year and we don’t even represent a dot on it.

Link to full resolution photo (18Mb)10,000 Galaxies in a spot of nothing


  1. Bhavin
    Bhavin January 24, 2010

    awesome! kinda difficult to remember one’s everyday plans (like grocery shopping, saving a few cents etc) for a while after watching this!

  2. Harshal
    Harshal January 25, 2010

    Beautiful !!!

    Liked the part where the narrator said, “the idea that the Earth is the only planet in the entire universe that might have the life,, appears almost absurd !!”” so True !!,,

    “Keep looking up!”

  3. Bhavishya
    Bhavishya February 28, 2010

    “The number is so big that the probability of not having life in some other planet is almost zero. ” – True. But then, the probability that a given planet has life is also zero. And if you take into consideration the speculations around the drake’s equation, the probability that we will come in contact with an alien life during our lifetime (humanity’s lifetime, not our personal lifetime) is also zero.

  4. Brijesh
    Brijesh March 3, 2010

    @ Bhavishya

    1) I didn’t get your first point. If the number of planet is infinity, then probability of life other than earth is almost 1.

    2) I agree with your second point that the probability that we (humans that is) contact them is very less. But there are more chances that they can contact us. May be their life started zillion years before earth, they could be more advanced than us, there could be more resources with them, they might be the “chosen one”, or as per Mr.Darwin, they might be the fittest.

    So you can’t deny the fact that it is possible that we can get in contact with them.

    3) Or they might be already with us and we cant feel them. May be they are also on earth but we don’t have sense to know that. Just as a penguin can not understand quantum theory, we might not understand their existence with us. This part is hard to understand, but think of it like this. There are primary colors: red, green, blue, white and black. You have seen them all, you can also possibly imagine a new color based on combination of these colors. But what if I tell you that there exists another primary color which no one has ever seen. You just can not imagine it. Your brain is limited to the colors you have already seen and the combination of it. It can not imagine something new. That’s our limitation. Hope you are getting my point

  5. Bhavishya
    Bhavishya March 3, 2010

    1) I said that probability that a GIVEN planet has life is zero and not that probability that there is life outside earth is zero.

    2) As per (speculation around) drake’s equation, the lifetime (L) of an intelligent life that is able to send radio signals in space (so we are 72 years old) is limited because an intelligent life may self destruct itself. As per the most accepted estimate for drake’s equation, at any given point of time there are 10 such civilizations present in the galaxy. So considering the total size of galaxy, probability of alien contact is almost zero.
    But ofcourse it is possible. The basic rule of probability theory says that if the probability of a given event is zero, it doesn’t imply that the event is impossible.

    3) I understand your point. But you need to understand that I am not saying that alien presence among us is impossible. I am just saying that the probability is zero.

  6. Brijesh
    Brijesh April 4, 2010

    1) I assume that you are saying that the probability of life on any given planet is NEAR 0. Lets say that number is 0.000001%. But you have to take in account the number of planets on the universe. Let alone, our milky way has 400 billion stars. May be they all have 9 planets. And there are zillion to the power of zillion galaxies. Just imagine the number of planets in the universe. So if you multiply the-probability-of-life-on-any-given-planet with the total-number-of-planet, this number would come down very BIG.

    2) Here is the flaw in Drake’s equation. (Start watching at 7:15, you can skip the earlier part)

    Drake calculated N=10 based on intelligent life may self destruct itself. But if the civilization of intelligent life is advanced enough, they can save themselves. Just watch the above video by Carl Sagan.

    3) Again, it is not 0 but near 0. And I am optimistic.

  7. Bhavishya Goel
    Bhavishya Goel April 15, 2010

    Lets say that number is 0.000001%

    You would need much more zeroes than that. πŸ™‚

    But yeah, you are right. I say zero instead of near zero, because I consider the number of total planets in universe to be ? for all mathematical purposes.

  8. Bhavishya Goel
    Bhavishya Goel April 15, 2010

    I meant ‘infinite’ but looks like your webpage can’t handle mathematical symbols. πŸ™‚

  9. Brijesh
    Brijesh April 30, 2010

    Good one Bhavishya πŸ™‚
    But my website can handle the symbol ?. May be your ‘keyboard’ doesn’t support it. πŸ™‚

  10. Brijesh
    Brijesh April 30, 2010

    Oops, it really can’t handle it..!!

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