Do you know where you live? With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is easy to forget that the human family lives on a small blue planet named Earth. All around us we see trees, animals, cars, buildings, farms, factories, stores, and other natural and man-made structures.
With all of these every day familiar objects around us and with the vast sky above us, and the deep oceans beneath us, our home planet often feels quite large. Compared to us, it is very large. There is enough space for each of us, our families and friends, our pets, as well as trillions of other lifeforms to live and enjoy the various experiences of life.
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While to us, the Earth appears to be a vast wilderness, compared to other objects in the Universe it is actually quite small, in fact, it is so small, that you could say it is tiny.
Look at this picture of the Earth and some of its neighbors. Compared to these worlds, the Earth still looks very large. It is much larger, for example, than Pluto and Mercury, a few times larger than the planet Mars, and just slightly larger than the planet Venus.
As we compare the Earth with its larger neighbors, however, we begin to see just how small it really is. The massive gas giant planets of our Solar System are many times larger than the tiny world that we inhabit. Notice the storm that is raging in the clouds on Jupiter. This storm is actually larger than our entire planet.
What does our planet look like when we compare it to the Sun? In this picture, the Earth is so small that it is barely visible. The Sun provides our planet with warmth, light, and energy. If the Sun were hollow, we could fit one million Earth-sized planets inside of it. Are you beginning to see just how small our home planet is? What about how small you are?
This picture makes our planet look small and our star, the Sun, look gigantic. But the truth is, even our Sun is tiny compared to other larger objects in the Universe.
Sirius, Pollux and Arcturus are massive stars that shine in the night sky. At this size, these stars shine brightly across millions of light years, standing as beacons, or lighthouses that reach out, lighting the way ahead of distant travelers.
Compared to these unimaginably large stars, our home world is so small that we wouldn’t even be able to see it in a picture that showed them.
Yet, to us, the Earth is our home. Everything we have ever known or experienced has been on this tiny grain of dust, floating through outer space.