Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is our solar system like an Oxygen atom?

If you've seen the film Men In Black, you might remember at the end of the movie that cool scene.  It starts with Will Smiths and zooms out over his car, above the streets, over Manhattan, Earth, past our Sun, solar system and beyond to reveal that the entire milky way galaxy is encapsulated in a marble.  Our whole universe is then in the hands of some octopus-like alien.  It's easy to see that we are not even a visible spec on the cosmic scale.  By way of comparison, we humans might be aliens to the sub-microscopic world of the molecules around us and in our body.

So I wondered to myself is there's any comparison to the proportional size of the universe to that of the atomic world.  After browsing wolfram alpha, I found that there may be!  So here's an analogy...

We have a massive sun and 8 planets in our solar system (poor Pluto is a drawf planet).

Mass of Sun: 1.988×1030 kg
Mass of planets: 2.668×1027 kg  

Ratio of Sun / Planets = 745:1
So the sun is about 745 times heavier than all the weight of the planets.

Reaching for an atomic parallel lets take Oxygen with its 8 electrons, protons and neutrons.  Think of Oxygens core as being the Sun of its system, and the 8 electrons as planets.

Oxygen's core:  2.678×10-23 kg
Electrons mass:  7.287×10-27 kg

Oxygen's core / electrons: 367 : 1

An atoms core is about 367 times heavier than the weight of its electrons.  750/367 is a relative ratio of about 2 to 1.

By way of comparison, the planets are about twice as heavy compared to the sun as electrons are to the atomic core of atoms, which is actually quite similar.  The analogy might not stop there, there is probably similar comparisons to be found in the volumes of space and atoms, and possibly even the speed of light, distances and phases of time.  Even though it's beyond our typical scope of reality to imagine the magnitude of these dimensions, there is a sense of harmonic balance that the universe and atoms share in their in relative proportions.

Perhaps in a future MIB movie we might see a reversed scene where the camera zooms in on Will Smith, into to his hair, follicles, cells, molecules, atoms until we see quarks and strings dancing about.  If nothing else, this could give astrologers and physicists one more way to work together -- Go Raj & Sheldon!

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