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THE EARTH AND THE UNIVERSE

How big is the universe?


REMEMBER:
Distances in space are measured in light-years
What is a light-year?
A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year.
92 billion* light-years

* 1 American / British / Brazilian billion = 1,000 million in the rest of the world
So, the size of the observable universe is
supposed to be 92 billion light-years.
BUT REMEMBER
1 billion (English) 1 thousand million (Spanish)

1 billion in English-speaking
countries
1,000,000,000

1 thousand million in the


rest of the world
The basic structure of the universe
The universe looks like a great
web.
The basic structure is the
galaxy. There are probably over
2,000,000,000,000 (2 trillion*)
galaxies in the Universe.
The galaxies are organized due
to gravity in groups (<100
galaxies) or clusters (<1,000)
and superclusters.
The superclusters form great
walls and filaments of galaxy
clusters surrounding voids
containing no galaxies.
The Laniakea Supercluster
A cluster is a group of
galaxies that are
gravitationally bound
together. A supercluster is a
group of clusters.
There are over 10 million
superclusters in the
observable universe.
The Laniakea Supercluster
is about 520 million light-
years across.
It contains the Virgo
Supercluster (where the
Milky Way is), the Centaurus
Supercluster or the Great
Attractor. There are over
100,000 galaxies in total.
520 million light-years
The Virgo / Local Supercluster
The Virgo Supercluster
AKA Local Supercluster is
about 130 million light-
years across.
Its a huge supercluster of
100,000 galaxies.
It contains the Local
Group (where the Milky
Way is), the Virgo Cluster
or the Ursa Major Group.
The largest cluster is the
Virgo Cluster containing
1,000 galaxies.

130 million light-years


The Local Group (of galaxies)
About 6.5 million light-years
in diameter
Contains 3 large spiral
galaxies - Milky Way,
Andromeda (M31), and
Triangulum (M33) - plus a
few dozen dwarf galaxies
with elliptical or irregular
shapes.
Gravitationally bound
together orbiting about a
common center of mass.

6.5 million light-years


THE MILKY WAY GALAXY

The Milky Way Galaxy is


a giant disk of stars
100,000 light-years
across and 1,000 light-
years thick.
The Sun is located at the
edge of a spiral arm,
30,000 light-years from
the center.
It takes about 250 million
years for the Sun to
complete one orbit.
There are over 200
billion* stars in the Milky
Way and a massive
black hole in the center.

100,000 light-years
THE MILKY WAY GALAXY

y ears
light-
00 0
30,
The Interstellar Neiborhood
The region of the Galaxy
within about 20 light-
years of the Sun (40 light-
years diameter).
The Solar Neighborhood
is a vague term not
scientifically defined.
The neighborhood stars
generally move with the
Sun in its orbit around the
center of the Galaxy.

40 light-years
THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Is the gravitationally
bound system comprising
the Sun and the objects
that orbit it directly or
indirectly.
a rs The radius of the Solar
e
ht-y System is 2 light-years.
2 lig
Beyond, the influence of
the center of the galaxy
annuls the gravitational
effect of the Sun.
Other Distance Units

Astronomical Unit (AU) = 150 million km. It is approximately


the average distance between the Earth and the Sun.

1 Parsec = 648000/ astronomical units = 3.26 light-years.


THE BIG STRUCTURE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM

The Solar System consists of


three large regions from
outside to inside:
The Oort Cloud: is a
hypothetical cloud of icy
planetesimals believed to
surround the Sun from 5,000
UA to possibly more then
100,000 UA.
The Kuiper Belt: is similar to
the asteroid belt, but
consisting mainly of icy and
rocky objects. It extends
between 30 and 50 AU from
the Sun.
The planetary region, which
includes the planets and the
asteroid belt.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM (II)
THE KUIPER BELT
THE OUTER AND THE INNER SOLAR SYSTEM

The planetary region


consists of two parts
separated by the asteroid
belt.
The outer solar system is
made up of giant gas
planets.
The inner solar system is
made up of rocky and
dense planets. The Earth
is the third from the Sun.