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viewpoint

Space and silence

| Thursday, November 8, 2018

 At some point much sooner than when the Sun explodes and becomes a white dwarf

The Milky Way will collide with the Andromeda galaxy.

when this happens, there is a very small chance

almost no chance

that the Earth or our sun will crash into matter from Andromeda and be destroyed in the collision because the space between stars is significantly larger than stars themselves.

and that makes sense. because when you look at pictures of outer space, the only thing more impressive than the bright of the stars is the black of the nothing. the only thing more impressive than the size of the stars is the size of the space that keeps them apart.

regardless of their luminosity, stars can’t unblack the blackness. they can’t wash out the dark.

and we like to talk about how we can’t count them, but we never talk about how we can’t count the SPACE between them. 

EBLM J0555-57Ab, the smallest-known star in the Milky Way has a radius of around 36,184 mi (the radius of Saturn)

our sun has a radius of 432,450 mi

UY Scuti, a red supergiant and the largest-known star in the Milky Way has a radius of around 750,000,000 miles

750,000,000 miles is 0.000127580846267 light years. that’s nothing.

the average space between two stars is about 5 light years.

The space says, “haha. that’s cute, scuti. why don’t you eat a hamburger?” 

because we have gravity, the galaxies will collide and the stars and planets of both assemblies will all shift to avoid each other, swinging through open spaces and around one another

as if they were swapping places

and then they will stop and charge back around again … shuffling for perfect open spaces.

the galaxies will swing into and away from each other, mesh into one another’s gravities in search of equilibrium.

and when they’re satisfied, they’ll decelerate until, finally, they become one. one nation.

According to standard proportions of the average 20-feet-tall American flag, the diameter of each star should be 1.232 feet under God.

the space between each star should be 1.26 feet even then, the space is bigger. indivisible.

and yet, every star gets its own population, its own flag. with liberty.

every star gets its own name. and justice.

every star gets its own square of land. for all.

and the space is just blue.

I guess we need the blue to keep the stars apart.

maybe we need its gravity to stop us from becoming one. reach our equilibrium.

the space says, “don’t think too much about it. Let us pretend we are one.”

 

Theresa Azemar can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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