VY Canis Majoris is bigger than anything I’m worrying about

March 12, 2013 4:45pm Published by Jules Smith in The Art Philosopher 45 Comments

Yesterday I got a touch distracted and couldn’t really concentrate on one thing or another so I took to Facebook for a minute and read the news feed of friends, acquaintances and other. We all have a collective ‘other’. I found myself balking at a post saying something along the lines of “Help a man when he’s down and don’t step over him….”It was a little more poetic. The person who posted this altruistic slogan, had, not a day before been bitching and whining about someone who is actually going through a tough time. Hold on? But you just posted that… Oh wait, you didn’t REALLY mean it? Gosh, I nearly bought into the misconception that you gave a shit about people. That’s what made me balk and had me on the verge of becoming atrocious so I moved swiftly on to a music video someone had posted and then on to You Tube where I clicked on other tempting videos that taunted me on the side panel. I eventually came to a space video. I really don’t know how that happened. 

I am captivated by space.  When I was younger I’d lie in bed transfixed by those glow-in-the-dark stars that you  stick to the ceiling, you know, the ones that fall off onto your face in the wee hours making your dreamy state believe that you are being eaten alive by arachnids. Obviously, they had to go. 

I’d lie there imagining the planets and stars, galaxies and space and think where does it end?

Well it doesn’t end, it goes on forever.

Or does it?

If it does what’s after that?


Well what’s nothingness?

Nothing has to be something doesn’t it?

Suffice to say I would drive myself bonkers.  It both intrigues and terrifies together. 
The biggest known star (I believe) is called VY Canis Majoris which has a diameter of 2.800.000.000 km. I know, that’s not even a number- it’s a noise.  A passenger jet travelling at 900 km/h would take 1100 years to get around it. You can get around ours in 24 hours.  It starts to put things into perspective for me like how small our world is; how tiny you and I really are.  Insignificant really.  So why worry about peoples petty foibles, whether or not I can afford to go to Bora Bora, who’s got what and who hasn’t and so on.  In the grand scheme of things all that anybody wants is to give love, be loved, be healthy and have FUN along the way. The rest is just background noise.  Sometimes distractions can prove to be most useful.  As my good friend told me yesterday ” Don’t let it harsh your mellow” 

For anyone getting too ugly for their Uggs – I leave you with this: 


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Ten to the power of 45,000- blimey. I must be meant to do something awesome

You and I both! I’ve always ALWAYS been captivated, intrigued, flabbergasted by what lies beyond! I even did a similar post once, called “Insignificant”… because that’s exactly the type of feeling you’re left with after pondering about it just for a short while. *sigh* Wouldn’t it be so awesome though, to travel through space together oohhing and aahhing at everything!

It would be brilliant and I’d love it! Would make a 20 hour trip to Bora Bora seem effortless!

“I’d lie there imagining the planets and stars, galaxies and space and think where does it end?”

I know the answer to that! Space is curved, so you never get to the edge. A light beam travelling away from the earth will eventually get back to the earth in an unimaginable amount of time (if nothing gets in its way). It’s like travelling on the surface of the earth, you never get to the edge.

That’s what Einstein said and Einstein is big in the Congo!

He might be big in the Congo but he couldn’t get his head round quantum mechanics and spooky entanglement ! The more DVDs and vids I watch on the matter of the universe, the more I am swayed toward it all being just a computer simulation.

The universe is nothing but a sublime speck of ethereal flotsam adrift in a quiet corner of gods subconscious, lost to his mind while he sleeps.

That answers a great many questions about the universe and our place in it. As I see it it only leaves two questions unfathomed:

How big is that damn bed he’s in and where the hell is it???

Sounds very Terry Pratchett,Dean – I like that. Thing is, I’m rather concerned what God is dreaming about. And why is he sleeping in a bed? He should be on a mass of cloud and angel feathers. In fact, he shouldn’t be sleeping at all he has too many prayers to get through!

The universe? Yes, I’ve seen it.
It’s rubbish.


Ha ha.
Sounds more like Karl Pilkington does that, Marv.

The stars do make us think. There is something magnificent out there. I think you are right, love is the most important thing in life.

Love and Green & Blacks chocolate.
It’s mesmerising isn’t it belle. I’d love to have a float round with my camera.

Ah, space. It never ceases to fuel my inspiration wagon. 🙂

Oooh, I’d like an inspiration wagon. Where do I get one of those?

There’s sadly not a huge market for them, so I had to make my own. It’s all rickety and ghetto-fabulous. 🙂

Gosh, it sounds marvellous!

we were just talking about nothingness over at my blog. of course, my blog having the reputation that it does, most thought we were discussing nakedness…

Ha ha! Well now I’m intrigued…

Glad the universe is vast…lots to explore. But the universe inside me is much bigger than that;)

WOW, Mark you must be ENORMOUS! I quite agree, as is mine.

Wow to know! Space always puts things in perspective! Even looking up at the moon swings my mind back to cosmic awareness. Thanks for sharing Juliette! We’d all do well to keep it in mind while venturing forth through the trivialities and petty detritus of day-to-day living.

As Carl Sagan said ‘For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.’
(I came across this quote beside a picture of the ‘heart nebula’ – a heart shaped cluster of stars – it’s worth looking at! – http://www.stellareyes.com) 🙂

I love the moon. The moon is very peaceful and calming. Oh that sounds lovely , I shal go and look, thank you Siobhan 🙂

I shall – I shall – I have a sticky keyboard. And I can’t for the life of me find the accent for the a or an a with an accent in your name on my keyboard and trust me, I’ve looked EVERYWHERE. I’d like help with this people.

‘alt gr’ button and ‘a’ (or whatever letter you want to accent) pressed at the same time – and voilá – an accent! 🙂

a A a – no it’s not working – wish I had a pen…

Space is absolutely incredible. But I think what I find most daunting is the vastness of all the things we don’t know.

I know – it’s freeeeeaky man! Don’t get me started again Deirdre, I’ve just got myself together.

Interesting post Juliette – yes space is so scarily big it does my head in thinking about it, although I get fascinated when I do. It’s like bigger than Manchester and Glasgow combined I believe…

Why thank you David. NO WAY. Nuffin’ is bigger than Manchester!

I LOVE thinking of the immensity of the universe. Is it infinite? and if so, how do we even comprehend infinity? So many questions. Wonderful post my friend.


I can’t get my head around infinity. It’s way too infinite.
Thank you Keith 🙂

I also loved those glow in the dark star stickers as a child.

I’m posting this video to my google+ feed. Thank you for sharing!

Ah, another lover of sticky, glowing stars!

Thank you GWANL, that’s very kind of you 🙂

It’s possible that I am a God believer because I fear the alternative–nothingness. But if we are nothing, then it won’t matter much anyway–makes this life very crucial indeed.

I was a space freak as a kid, but the mathematics of astronomy killed my interest.

I know what you mean, safer to hedge your bets. Nothingness. Terr -I-Fy-Ing.
Yeah, maths tends to do that.

Thanks for the visist Susan 🙂

A space video… is that a fact?. Well, sometimes a space video is all we need, Jules. And a bit of extra space, of course. A passenger jet travelling at 900 km/h would take 1100 years to get around that thing? Well, I guess it’s pretty pointless to buy a ticket then…

Let’s go to Bora Bora instead. 🙂

Well, well, well it’s The Blue Grumpster! Where has he been? Has he been to London to see the Queen?

I’m with you ALL THE WAY my blue friend – Ready and waiting. Bora, Bora has a special kind of nothingness going on, a kind of lazy, drink margaritas, lie in a hammock kind of nothingness…

Believe it or not but I’ve been working my blue butt off. It’s quite an experience…. I could do with a hammock right now. 🙂

I hope you haven’t laddered your tights in the frenzy.
Don’t work too hard. 🙂

I had to buy myself some new tights, actually, but I had a great weekend and my batteries are now fully recharged. Well, maybe less depleted…

Like a duracell bunny 🙂 I’m pleased to hear it.

If you think of space as curved it makes it a bit easier to imagine the infinity of the universe. You come back to where you were happy and none the worst for the trip.
We used to sleep in the back yard, summers, and once I saw something explode up there. I may have been the only one to have seen that — my secret cosmic demise.
(we would also sneak over to the swimming pool to swim these warm nights but that has nothing to do with space. Or does it?)

I’ve tried that goatman but STILL can’t get my head round infinity. I usually just move swiftly on to a nice glass of wine and banal entertainment and the chaos in my mind eventually subdues.

Ha ha! I think its great that you went sneaking off to the swimming pool – was it an infinity pool?

Looking forward to your next post 🙂

Thank you Keith 🙂

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