It turns out SPACE is probably the best word to describe it… space, that is.
There’s more space in the universe than anything else. There was a time when all was pure energy. Then, as the universe expanded and cooled, matter condensed out of the primordial plasma, but things were still packed pretty tightly.
Now, 13.7 billion years later, both matter and energy are in the minority, while space is huge.
We can write the numbers and say the words: billions, trillions, light years, megaparsecs… but our brains don’t have the capacity to appreciate just how BIG space really is.
Imagine that the Sun is the size of a pumpkin about 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter, and that 1 foot = 1 million miles (1.6 million km)
Mercury is a tomato seed, 50 feet (15 m) away, and
Venus is a small pea @ 75 feet (23 m).
Earth, another pea, is just under 100 feet (30 m) out, and our
Moon, the size of a pin-head, about 4 inches (10 cm) away.
Mars is a small raisin @ 175 feet (53 m), and
Jupiter, a peach @ 550 feet (167 m). Saturn is the size of an apricot, just over 1,000 feet (304 m) from the pumpkin, and
Uranus, a plum @ twice Saturn’s distance, 2,050 feet (623 m).
Neptune is another plum @ over 3,200 feet (973 m), and
Pluto, and other Kuiper belt objects, a strawberry seed, just past the one mile (1.6 km) marker and beyond .
At this scale, our nearest stellar neighbor, the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, would be a blood orange near Lisbon, Portugal; a distance of 4,700 miles (7,520 km).