posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 08:59 PM
Here is some information I compiled years ago that should help everyone understand what we are dealing with:
Galactic Facts
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distribution and use of this material in its unaltered form.
Other copyright material in this paper used under the GNU
Free Documentation License.
Our planet is revolving at 900 miles per hour and orbiting the Sun at 5,400 miles per hour.
Our solar system is traveling at 42,000 miles per hour in our galaxy the Milky Way.
That’s over a million miles a day.
The Milky Way contains over 100 billion stars.
It is approximately 100,000 light years from one side to the other and 1,000 light years thick at the spiral arms. The center or hub of our galaxy is
about 16,000 light years thick.
Light Year: The distance light travels in one year…
5,865,696,000,000 (5 trillion, 865 billion, 696 million) miles.
We (the Earth) are around 26,000 light years from our galactic center and orbit around that center every 220 million years.
Our galaxy is one of millions of billions in this expanding universe. We also know our universe is expanding in all directions at or near the
speed-of-light which is 186,000 miles per second or just shy of 670 million miles per hour.
The universe is estimated to have ten billion trillion stars, most having their own solar systems. The differences between these systems are great.
Some stars are so enormous that their diameter would engulf Mars if they replaced the sun at the center of our solar system. Others are so small that
planets with an orbit as close as Mercury would be solid blocks of ice. Some of the more exotic solar systems consist of clusters of stars intertwined
in a gravitational dance that allows nothing larger than dust to form in their wake.
Among all this diversity is an uncommon group, known as type G stars. Only an estimated 8% of the stars in the known universe are of this type and
fall within the ideal age spectrum. When stars are the correct age, they are neither too hot nor too cold, and create the foundation of a solar system
able to support life.
What makes these facts and figures fascinating is that they are factual and verifiable.
Now there’s one more faction which should be included…probability statistics.
Not only do these statistics overwhelmingly reveal at least 100 million (and probably billions) of Earth-like planets in our known universe, they also
reveal a high probability that there are thinking, conscious beings on millions of them. And some, more than likely, millions of years more
advanced.
Numbers Table
Million, Billion, Trillion... © Copyright 1999, Jim Loy
People sometimes ask me the names of the large numbers. The system used in the U.S. is not as logical as that used in other countries (like Great
Britain, France, and Germany).
In these other countries, a billion (bi meaning two) has twice as many zeros as a million, and a trillion (tri meaning three) has three times as many
zeros as a million, etc. But the scientific community seems to use the American system.
Here is a table.
Number of zeros U.S. & scientific community Other countries
3 thousand thousand
6 million million
9 billion 1000 million (1 milliard)
12 trillion billion
15 quadrillion 1000 billion
18 quintillion trillion
21 sextillion 1000 trillion
24 septillion quadrillion
27 octillion 1000 quadrillion
30 nonillion quintillion
33 decillion 1000 quintillion
36 undecillion sextillion
39 duodecillion 1000 sextillion
42 tredecillion septillion
45 quattuordecillion 1000 septillion
48 quindecillion octillion
51 sexdecillion 1000 octillion
54 septendecillion nonillion
57 octodecillion 1000 nonillion
60 novemdecillion decillion
63 vigintillion 1000 decillion
66 - 120 undecillion - vigintillion
303 centillion
600 centillion
Scientific Notation
© Copyright 2000, Jim Loy
Large (and small) numbers can be written in many ways. 375,000,000,000 is cumbersome and maybe confusing. In America it is called 375 billion. In most
of the rest of the world it is called 375 thousand million. Even if you keep that straight, you may not remember the names for larger numbers, like
nonillions.
Scientists (and other people) use scientific notation for large and small numbers. A number in this notation is written as a decimal number between
one and 10 times an integer power of ten:
3.75x10^11 (or 3.75x1011)=375,000,000,000
6.7x10^-20 (or 6.7x10-20)=0.00000 00000 00000 00006 7
Here ^ means power. Normally we just write the superscript number. (which some WWW browsers cannot handle). These numbers are much more compact, and
easier to read. In computer programming, this is often written slightly differently: 375,000,000,000=3.75E11.
OK, what is 3.75x10^11 + 6.7x10^-20? The answer 375,000,000,000.00000 00000 00000 00006 7 is ridiculous. Neither number implies that kind of accuracy.
The answer is 3.75x10^11. compared to 3.75x10^11, 6.7x10^-20 is the same as zero.
Addendum:
There are other big numbers with names.
A zillion has come to mean an arbitrary or unknown large number.
A googol is 10^100.
A googolplex is 10^googol (10^10^10^2). This number is too large to write here without exponents.
Skewes' number (gesundheit) is 10^10^10^34 was used as an upper bound in a mathematical proof. Recently 10^10^10^10^10^7 was used in a proof.
The googolplex has given rise to the n-plex notation: n-plex is 10^n. n-minex is 10^-n.
Donald Knuth invented arrow notation, where m^n (^ is an up arrow) is the regular m^n.
m^^n is m^m^m^m...^m, with n up arrows.
m^^^n is m^^m^^m...^^m, with n ^^s.
According to The Book of Numbers by J.H.Conway and R.K.Guy, chained arrow notation is the following enhancement: a^^^^^b is written as a>b>5, where >
is a right arrow.