Scaling For the Uninitiated: an effort to inform on the drastic levels of scaling when operating at universal levels. ____________________________________________ Chapter one: Length and Distance. Section one: "The meter, and you" Today, we are going to be discussing the concept of distances, the length between two points, and how absurd these distances can get when operating with an entire universe. We're going to be starting with the foundation of these distances, the meter. Well, what is a meter? A meter, or metre, as it is more correctly spelled, is "the length of the path traveled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1 ⁄ 299,792,458 of a second. It consists of 100 centimeters, or 1,000 millimeters. For those who use imperial, a meter is 39.370 inches, or roughly 3.3 feet. A meter is not a yard(36 in), and it will never be. Now then, why bother with the meter at all? Why spend time thinking of this humble length indicator? Simple, my good simpleton, it is the basis for the significantly larger units of distance that we will be using, primarily, the kilometer. For an accurate idea of how much a meter is, try getting a yard stick, or a basic ruler. Then, measure out the aforementioned 39.37 inches. Viola, a meter. If you cannot do this, either from lacking the necessary equipment or from being illiterate, then why exactly are you even reading this in the first place? Understanding the distance covered by a single meter, and how it scales up to the ludicrously higher stages is very important to not becoming completely lost when we reach levels beyond planetary. The humble meter has 20 multiples, both larger and smaller, from the humble millimeter to the insanely larger yottameter. However, for ease in explanation, we shall start with the ever present foundation for large distances, the kilometer. The kilometer is one thousand meters, or 3,281 feet. This will be our point for explaining what is to come. Now, understanding this size allows us to go higher, with each higher level being 1,000 times larger than the previous. Megameter, gigameter, and so on, further and further, covering significantly more distance, and as such, far more space. However, we still need to set down exactly why the kilometer is so important. But before we do, we'll list the stages of meter. Past the 10 and 100x points, each subsequent number is 1,000 times larger or smaller than the previous, so keep that in mind. From smallest to largest, it goes yoctometre > zeptometre > attometre > femtometre > picometre > nanometre > micrometre > millimetre > centimetre > metre > decametre > hectometre > kilometre > megametre > gigametre > terametre > petametre > exametre > zettametre > and yottametre. It goes higher, but we've run out of words. Most people shouldn't have any problem picturing exactly how to use the metre, or visualizing what that's like, but for completions sake, not to mention how short this first section is, I'll throw in a few examples of everyday objects that can help for later. The average male American is 1.78m, the average female being 1.64m, with the averages in the UK being almost the exact same, with only .14m difference for males and .04m for females. The African Elephant, the largest living land animal, stands about 3.5m tall, and about 7.5m counting the tusks. The largest living animal on Earth, the Blue Whale is about 30m long. The longest animal to ever live, the Argentinosaurus was roughly 40m long. The tallest trees in the world, the North American Redwood, can grow to a recorded height of 115.5m. As you can see, the natural world can produce some pretty mammoth lifeforms(technically including the mammoth), though man-made structures outdo them by a good measure. The tallest man-made structure in the world is the Burj Khalifa tower in Buhai, at a staggering 829.8 m tall, and there are hundreds of buildings more than 100m tall. ________________________________________________________ Section Two: Where we examine interplanetary distances and sizes in the Sol system. Now, we have already determined what a meter and a kilometer are, so now we'll move on to how they work into explaining just how ridiculous the scale we're dealing with is. We'll start with the most basic model for planetary size, the Earth. Just how big is Earth? The Earth has an equatorial radius of 6,378 km, this being its widest point. Now, this gives us a diameter of 12,756 km. 12.75 million meters, or 42,201,762 feet. This is a big number. This is obviously the longest single line you could get for the Earth, but doesn't take into account the surface area of the planet. If you have a ruler, it will not help you at all in visualizing this. We will later calculate how much energy is required to explode the planet. Next, we move on to the closest celestial object, Luna, our moon. The Moon is 1,738 km at its ED(equatorial diameter), for a diameter of 3,476 km. The moon is roughly 0.273 Earths in size. This is important. The Moon is situated a scant galactic distance from Earth, a trifling 356,400 km to 406,700 km at the extreme perigee (closest) and apogee (farthest). This is a little over a light-second away, which we will be covering soon. The Moon is in visible range of the planet Earth, to the point where one could see physical changes with only a 1.26 seconds delay, practically walking distance. Before we move on, a quick explanation of the AU, the Astronomical Unit, or in terms most people will actually understand, the distance between the Earth's approximate distance from Sol, covering 149,597,871 km. Pretty damn far, though still pretty tiny compared to the later stuff. Now then, we'll go over a quick comparison of the Earth to the other objects in the Solar System, including Sol, the star at its center, starting with the dwarf planet, 136199 Eris. Never heard of it? You have now. Eris is located roughly 97.56 AU(as discussed above) from the sun at its Aphelion(the point where it is furthest from the Sun) and 37.77 AU at its Perihelion(where it is at its closest to the Sun. Eris is the largest, furthest point in the solar system, with a mean radius of 1,163 km, give or take 6, diameter 2,326 km. Next up is Makemake, m-R of 680 to 740, diameter of 1,360 to 1,480 km. Its orbit takes it between 38.51 AU and 53.07 AU. Then comes Haumea, an egg-shaped thing, with the following fancy dimensions 1,960 × 1,518 × 996 km. Distance of 34.72 to 51.54 AU. Last is the sad case of Pluto, once a planet, now not. 134340 Pluto has an m-R of 1,161 km, with a diameter of 2,322 km. Distance ranges from 29.66 to 48.87 AU. Now we get to the fun stuff. The planets. First up is the blue giant Neptune, lord of the ocean. It averages about 30.1 AU from the Sun, with an e-radius of 24,764 km, diameter 49,528 km. Next is mighty Uranus, average distance of 19.5 AU, with an e-radius of 25,559 km, diameter 51118km. Following is the original ring-world, Saturn. Average of 9.63 AU, e-radius of 60,268 km, diameter 120,536 km. Now comes the big one, the titan of the Solar system, Jupiter. Average of 5.1 AU, e-radius of 71,492km, and a diameter of 142,984 km. Big planet is big. Though it's not a planet, I'll throw it in since it's large enough to be counted a dwarf-planet. Ceres, located just after Jupiter at roughly 2.77 AU, an e-radius of 487.3 km, and a diameter of 974.6 km. Now, back to the actual planets. Our close red neighbor, the Red Planet itself, Mars. Average of 1.5 AU from the Sun, equatorial-radius of 3,396 km, and a diameter of 6,792. Next comes our closest neighbor among the planets, Venus. 0.723 AU, 6,051.8 km e-radius, 12,126 km diameter. Finally, we come to the planet closest to our heavenly life-bringer, the bleak rock Mercury. A scant 0.387 AU from the Sun, a e-radius of 2,439.7 km, and a diameter of 4,879.4 km. Okay, now we come to the fun one, and finally start explaining how wrong people are when they think someone can go from planet to star like that. We come to that which gives us life, the thing that made this pointless rambling possible. The Solar center, Sol, our celestial father, the Sun. Existing in the center of the Solar System means no AU, so instead we'll start on the next scale, and list how far from the galactic center it is, in everyone's favorite astronomical designator, Light-years. The Sun is located roughly 26,000 or so light-years out, and is a towering inferno with an e-radius of around 696,000 km, and a diameter of 1,392,000. So yeah, it's big. _____________________________________________________________ Section Three: Light in repose. Okay, now we get to the serious measurements, those of light-times. Light-seconds, light-minutes, and so on, including everyone's favorite, light-years. I'm sure you know this, but since this is a guide for those who don't, I'll say it anyway. Light-times are not measurements of time, they are measurements of length. Going one light-second does not take one second(unless you are moving at light-speed), but rather takes you a distance of 299,792,458 meters. Yeah, that's a lot. For reference, going that fast would allow you to travel across the Earth about 23.5 times in a single second. The distance from the Earth to the moon is roughly 1.28 light-seconds. Moving along, we come to light-minutes, hours, days, weeks, etc. To save space, I'll just list their distances. A light-minute is 17,999,867,700 meters, or about 18 gigameters. A light-hour is 1,079,992,062,000 meters, or a little over 1 terameter. A light-day is 25,919,809,488,000 meters, or around 26 terameters. A light-week is 181,438,666,416,000 meters, or 181 terameters. A light-month, 788,394,205,733,042 meters, or 788 terameters. And at long last, we reach the ever present light-year, a ridiculously massive 9,460,730,472,580,800 meters, or 9.46 petameters. As a side-note, there also exists the Parsec, equal to about 3.26 light-years, but we wont be using that. Now, we have finally reached the point were we can describe interstellar distances, starting with the closest star to Sol, Proxima Centauri. This star sits at about 4.2 light-years. Consider the lengths we've gone through so far just to reach the closest star. Consider that we have dealt with 2 stars so far, and have not even toughed on massive stars, galaxies, clusters, or any of the other celestial objects that beat out our tiny star. Starting to get the scale yet? Now, let's do a quick list of close stars in the galaxy, to give an idea of real scale. First up, Barnard's Star, at5.96 ly. Next is Wolf 359 at 7.78 ly, Lalande 21185 at 8.29 ly, and Sirius at 8.58 ly. This is about 81,173,067,500 megameters from Earth. Pretty damn massive. But, this is simple distance, and we need to know scale of size as well. So, let's start with a list of large stars. Note that I am nowhere near listing all of the stars, rather just a few names that sound interesting. Listing them all would take far too much space, and you can just look at a wiki if you feel so inclined. -I'm doing this because I can't find a good list of planets, but most extrasolar planets are larger then Jupiter, so that should tell you something. VV Cephei B is roughly 10 times the size of Sol, measured, like most stars larger than the Sun, in Solar Radii, equal to the radius of the Sun. Next up is Theta Centauri at 16 R(o) (best way of showing it I have), then Epsilon Leonisat 23 R(0), R136a1(most massive star known) at 35.4 R(o), and Aldebaran at 44.2. Skipping ahead to the really big ones, we have the Pistol Star at 340, Rho Cassiopeiae at 340, Betelgeuse at a tremendous 1,180, and the largest known star, the titanic VY Canis Majoris, at a varying size of 1,800 to 2,100 times the size of the sun.