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Activity #1
How Big is the Universe?

The Milky Way has a radius of approximately 50,000 light years. The visible universe has a size of approximately 15 billion light years. If the Milky Way is represented by an 8 centimeter wide coffee cup, how big would the rest of the universe be in kilometers?

Galaxy, stars, and a coffee cup.

The Milky Way has a radius of about 50,000 light years.

What is the total size of the Milky Way Galaxy?________

The visible universe has a radius of approximately 15 billion light years.

So if an 8 cm wide coffee cup represents the Milky Way, the visible universe would be a sphere approximately ________km in radius.


  Show your calculations
 

What other objects can you use to compare the size of the universe with the size of the Milky Way galaxy?

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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