In the beginning there was VOID, who had two daughters; one (the smaller) was that of BEING, named ERIS, and one (the larger) was of NON-BEING, named ANERIS. (To this day, the fundamental truth that Aneris is the larger is apparent to all who compare the great number of things that do not exist with the comparatively small number of things that do exist.)

Principia Discordia - 00056

We emerge from a 3.5 billion year long evolutionary process, and find ourselves awake in a bed we don't recognize.

It may be wise to take a look around and try to figure out where the hell we are, what the hell is going on around here, and who the hell's underwear we're wearing.

The observable universe is a sphere centered around Earth. It measures 46 billion light-years from Earth to edge, and represents all information which has reached Earth since the Big Bang.

It's not clear how much larger the Universe is, as a whole, compared to this sphere we can observe. Estimates range from 250 times larger*, to 3x1023 times larger*, to infinitely larger.

For the sake of comparison, the entire Milky Way galaxy is more than 400,000 times smaller than the observable universe itself, at a mere 110 thousand light-years in diameter. It's fair to say that we currently do not know, and may never know what's out there, but what we actually can observe should keep us awestruck in the meantime.

The Universe consists of non-simultaneously apprehended events.

St. TRIMTAB the Optimist

46 billion light-years is an easy number to talk about but a difficult number to fully comprehend. A light-year is the distance light travels over one year, and is a lot further than you'd expect.

Our own solar system, even if we measure out to Eris, the furthest dwarf planet, is only 0.0019 light-years across, an additional 57 million times smaller than the galaxy itself.

That means that the observable universe is nearly 43 trillion times wider (that's 12 zeroes, for those who are counting) than our entire solar system. And we haven't even put someone on Mars yet...

In fact, the furthest spacecraft from Earth, the Voyager 1 has been travelling away from us at 38,000 mph (61,000 km/h) since 01977 yet is still only a little more than 18 light-hours away – one fifth of one percent of a light year.

This means that likely everything you have ever found interesting - everything you have ever cared about or hoped for or worked towards, exists within a region of space which is nearly 750,000,000 times narrower than even a single light-year.

Light travels one light-year in 30 million seconds, but travels from one side of the Earth to the other in 0.04s – less than one half of one tenth of a second. Welcome home.