The Veil Nebula. What’s a few trillion miles between friends?


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I believe someone’s math is incorrect in this article. I’m not spoiling the fun, just correcting the record. The image is truly breathtaking and wondrous! But Numeracy counts. :~)

63,000 just didn’t seem big enough, and I was right. Somebody’s calculation re: the width of the Veil Nebula is off by a factor of 100.

A light year is approx 6 trillion miles, or 6,000,000,000,000 miles.

At a width of 110 light years, the Veil Nebula is therefore about 660,000,000,000,000 miles across.

The sun is about 93 million miles away, or 93,000,000.
If you do the math (660 trillion / 93 million), 110 light years across is not about 63,000 times the distance between earth and the sun as claimed in the article, but instead is about 7,000,000 (7 million) times! An even more incomprehensible number than 63,000, I know.

But, what’s a few trillion miles between friends?


Cat’s meow

Albert Einstein:
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

Then again, Einstein was a bit of a wag. Consider his explanation of wireless communication: “The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand. The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York, and it meows in Los Angeles. The wireless is the same, only without the cat.” This quote reportedly kept Schrödinger awake well past his bedtime.

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d...
English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Darwin clan pretty special, I’d say


“As the earth and ocean were probably peopled with vegetable
productions long before the existence of animals; and many families
of these animals long before other families of them, shall we
conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and
has been the cause of all organic life?” asked the polymathic
poet and physician Erasmus Darwin in 1794.
“It was a startling guess for the time,
not only in its bold conjecture that all organic
life shared the same origin, sixty-five years before his grandson
Charles’ (Darwin) book on the topic, but for its weird use of the word
‘filaments.’ The secret of life is indeed a thread.” (DNA? PB)