Tonight you must go stargazing, but don't be fooled by what you see. The stars you count are a mere fraction of the 10 sextillion stars in our universe.
Some astronomers say a universe of 10 sextillion stars is a far too conservative estimate. Yale University astronomer Pieter van Dokkum and Harvard astrophysicist Charlie Conroy suggest the number might reach 300 sextillion.
If you were to stack just one hundred trillion dollar bills it would measure 6,786,616 miles. That stack would reach from the earth to the moon and back 14 times.
Insert jaw drop here.
One hundred trillion is 14 trips to the moon. But wait! It takes one thousand trillion to make a sextillion. And while astronomers have been estimating that there are 10 sextillion stars in the universe, now von Dokkum and Conroy come along and argue for 300 sextillion stars!
Is your head spinning? David's was:
Like David, we stand awe when the incomparable Artist scatters innumerable lights against the raven canvas of an evening sky. It is too much! What is man compared to this vast array? Then we read the rest of Psalm 8. God does even more.
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
God entrusts this earth—the crown jewel of the universe—to the very ones who are mere specks on it. Amazing!
We are insignificant dots under a sea of stars, but looking up we discover that we are infinitely and eternally and individually loved by the God who made them.
We learn this from stargazing . . .
- "All places are places of worship ..." from Charles H. Spurgeon. You can find the quote in 2200 Quotations From The Writings Of Charles H. Spurgeon. Grand Rapids: Baker Books. 1996.
- "Yale University astronomer ..." from The Associated Press, reported in www.gazettenet.com on December 2, 2010. Accessed March 28, 2012.
- Let's try to put "300 sextillion into perspective..." from "Grasping Large Numbers" from The Endowment For Human Development (www.ehd.org). Accessed March 28, 2012.