Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How Big Do You Think You Are?

Last Friday, as a way of celebrating one last night of freedom before school started, my wife decided we no longer needed comfort. So we went way out...to our back yard and set up the tent. The kids loved the idea. I brought my laptop.

I was checking the weather to see if we needed to put the cover up on our tent when I found that a meteor shower was expected. I looked up and saw a lot of clouds. But the children looked anyway for meteors that we wouldn't see. It led us to talk about space, a favorite topic of mine.

I used the laptop to search pictures of space. I stumbled upon pictures of the size of Earth, like this one to the left. This was no big deal, as they've seen pictures of Earth before. But then I showed them this one.
Now I had them intrigued. Those other planets seemed awfully larger than Earth. How could this be? Shouldn't we be the largest? Why would God make other planets larger?

Without going fully into 3-point-pastor mode, I simply shared that we often forget just how tiny we are on this spinning ball. Then I showed them this next picture. In case you can't see it, that big orange ball is the big orange ball you see everyday when you wake up. It's big. Real big.

This led to a science class lesson on how the sun is a star. We talked about how far away the other stars are and why we only see them at night. I think I fooled my children into believing I know a lot. But then I blew their minds and showed them these two last pictures.

The picture to the left is of a few different stars,showing our Sun to actually be a small star. This isn't even comparing it to some of the really large stars out there.

The second picture is of some of the most distant galaxies as seen by our Hubble Telescope.

This led to me explaining that we are just one planet within a solar system, just one solar system within a galaxy and just one galaxy within the universe. Oh, and that universe is continually expanding. At this point my son's head just exploded.

We continued to have a really cool conversation as we sat out under the cloudy sky. It left us all with one very large feeling; we are very small. Yet God loves us. Then, since the laptop still had battery life left, we watched an episode of Veggie Tales.

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