I loved studying astronomy as a kid and enjoyed taking astronomy courses in college, but unlike most subjects I’ve studied, I cannot understand the concepts in astronomy. Sure I can memorize the size of an astronomical unit (149,598,000 kilometers) or that the Moon rotates, but in spite of my best efforts I cannot internalize most of astronomy.
It’s a problem of scale. I can’t mentally picture what 13 billion light years is. I know it’s really far, but that’s the limit of my brain’s ability to handle a number that large. Similarly I have a hard time imagining how large the Earth actually, so that makes understanding the size of Jupiter, the Sun, or any of the other mind-blowingly tremendous celestial objects downright impossible for me.
At the end of the day, I read up on this stuff and find it incredibly cool… then I try to picture it and my brain break.
Here’s one of those incredibly cool things that broke my brain.
Now I’m going to bed.