Friday, March 10, 2017

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 48: Biggest Universe





Key Text

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; what is man, that you think of him? What is the son of man, that you care for him?” Psalms 8:3-4 (WEB)


Lesson

Note: Today's lesson is best illustrated under a clear night sky or with a picture of space.



When we look around our earth, it seems pretty big. But when we look up to the sky, out into space, it's vastness makes us realize how small we really are. Scientists continue to make new discoveries in space that stretch our imagination beyond anything we thought possible. Take the sun for example. You can block out the entire sun from your view with one finger. But it is actually much bigger than earth. One million earths could fit inside the sun! And the sun is just an average size star. Distances in space are mind boggling also. If you could fly to Pluto, it would take more than 800 years to arrive.1 And you would still be in our own solar system.

Have you ever wondered what the biggest thing in the universe is? That is hard to pin down because bigger things are being discovered every few years. Currently, the biggest known star is labeled R136a1. It is between 265 to 315 times heavier than our own sun! It is estimated to be about 4.4 nonillion pounds (2 nonillion kg), or 4.4 with 30 zeroes after it. I think we need a bigger unit of measurement for determining the weight of things in space. That's too many zeros.

But wait, there are still galaxies to consider. We live in the Milky Way galaxy which is about 100,000 light years from one side to the other. One light year is the distance light can travel in one year which is about 6 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km). So light has to travel at that speed for 100,000 years to get from one side of our galaxy to the other. And you thought it was far to your friends house across town! The single biggest object known is not a single galaxy, but a cluster of galaxies. Technically called a protocluster, SPT2349, is the single biggest thing we have ever seen. This leviathan is still in the process of growing to its full size so we do not know how far across it will get. But at present it is composed of 14 super-galaxies all colliding together. It weights far more than anything else in the universe coming it at about 12 to 15 quadrillion times the weight of our sun.2

Just think what a big God we serve. There are so many other planets out there, yet he is concerned with our tiny little one. God must truly love you and me to pay so much attention to us. It makes me so thankful. How about you? Like King David, I have to marvel at why God even concerns himself with us. I cannot understand it. But it tells me that you and I matter to him. It may be difficult to believe that he is with us. But we can look up and remember that the God who made all of space wants to be with us and will take care of us.



Questions

Does this lesson make you feel important or small and insignificant? Why?

If you had the choice would you give up your life to save some small planet with a few people who didn’t even like you as Jesus did?

Since Jesus saved us despite our trivial place in the universe, how should we treat others?


Sources

1. "10 Facts about Space!" National Geographic Kids online. Retrieved March 10, 2017 from
https://www.natgeokids.com/za/discover/science/space/ten-facts-about-space/.
2. What's the Most Massive Object in the Universe?" May 10, 2018. Livescience.com. Retrieved February 18, 2018 from https://www.livescience.com/62530-biggest-object-in-universe.html.

Written By David F. Garner
Photo Credit: WikiImages via www.pixabay.com














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