A map of the Universe

This video is self-explanatory, but when I first watched it a question came immediately to mind: how come the superfluity of stars that serve no obvious purpose if you think this is all God’s creation? Since we can’t see most of these by eye, why did God make them in the first place? Or are they providing light for God-created species living on other planets?

Be sure to enlarge the video.


  1. Michael Day
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I would argue that there is no such thing as a superfluous star. Stellar nucleosynthesis creates (and created) every heavy atom upon which life (and theoretical future life) depends.

    • Michael Day
      Posted September 12, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      And by “heavy” I mean anything above Lithium or so…

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted September 12, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Sure, but one galaxy would suffice for that. Life on Earth owes nothing to stellar nucleosynthesis in distant galaxies.

    • eric
      Posted September 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      One of my favorite t-shirt slogans:

      “Never trust an atom. They make up everything.”

  2. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    (1) “mysterious ways” ;
    (2) I’ll just drag some fresh wood over to Bruno’s pyre. This debate has been had, and while it was a firey debate, the ultimate outcome was not in doubt.
    (3) dark starry skies tend to make me go “Muwahahahahah – Mine, all mine!” Seems appropriate.

  3. Curt Nelson
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    What do the lines signify and what do they suggest about the spacial relationships of all those galaxies?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      That’s scale. When dots get close together they look like a line.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted September 12, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      If I recall correctly from seeing these animations before from a different source, the lines map out direction and rates of movement. The longer lines are for galaxies that are moving faster.
      Note that galaxies near each other are generally moving together since they are pinned into place by the gravity of dark matter.
      The lines of movement are generally converging into an area near the center of the map. This is an area where galaxies and dark matter are rather bunched up, and so have a lot more gravity. Galaxies outside of that massive central area will eventually converge to the center, as the lines of movement indicate.

      This map is really a small fraction of a much larger universe of galaxies, which has also been partially mapped. The known universe of galaxies is arranged in strings and blobs that resemble a ‘cosmic foam’.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted September 13, 2016 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        Confirming that, I found this on the “small scales” of structures that will end up gravitationally bound (as the horizon of the observable universe moves towards the future horizon):

        “Once objects are bound by gravity, they no longer recede from each other. Thus, the Andromeda galaxy, which is bound to the Milky Way galaxy, is actually falling towards us and is not expanding away. Within the Local Group, the gravitational interactions have changed the inertial patterns of objects such that there is no cosmological expansion taking place. Once one goes beyond the Local Group, the inertial expansion is measurable, though systematic gravitational effects imply that larger and larger parts of space will eventually fall out of the “Hubble Flow” and end up as bound, non-expanding objects up to the scales of superclusters of galaxies.”

        [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_expansion_of_space#Effects_of_expansion_on_small_scales ]

  4. Caroline Nicoud
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    God knew this moment would come obviously, he made sure stars are out there for scientists to find them and balh, blah… This will work also if we ever make contact with E.T.s, god knew all along. Just like he knows how to cure cancer and why small children die from it sometimes…

  5. Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink


  6. Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Why so many stars?

    As a Mormon.

    • Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      “As” is supposed to be “Ask.”

      Ask a Mormon.

      They think good Mormon men get their own planets to rule, so stars as necessary for planets to have life worth ruling…

      • rickflick
        Posted September 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        What do good Mormon women get?

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted September 13, 2016 at 4:25 am | Permalink


  7. steve oberski
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Silly atheists, god created all those stars 6,000 years ago so he could then create the light beams from those stars already on their way to earth (because we all know that the earth is the center of the universe).

  8. Flemur
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Supposedly we can see only 9096 stars, and ~90% of them are within about 1100-1200* light years from earth; our galazy is about 100,000 light years across, so we can only see stars within about 1% of it (linearly; that’d be about 0.00016% of the galaxy’s volume. *Used 1175 light years for calcs.).

    • Flemur
      Posted September 12, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      “we can see” = naked eye + normal vision + dark night = the “Yale Bright Star Catalog”.

  9. Filippo
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink


  10. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    The Stars help God see better like when God drops his keys to the God car, the stars help him find his God keys so he can drive around doing God shit.

  11. Charles Minus
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Just reading “Our Mathematical Universe” by Max Tegmark. He would have the title of this piece changed from “The Universe…” to “Our Universe…” His point being that, according to him and others, modern physics predicts not just a multiverse, but four levels of multiverses, all containing an infinite number of universes.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted September 12, 2016 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      I just finished Tegmark’s book myself a couple of weeks ago, and while I’m sympathetic to his ideas, I do have a couple of quibbles.

      One is that what he calls the Level I Multiverse is what I would call our Universe, i.e. our Big Bang and its decay products (including us). What Tegmark calls our Universe is just the part of it we can see from here, and the “parallel universes” at this level are just other parts of the same contiguous space, like the cones of light under different streetlamps.

      Also his Level IV Multiverse — the multiverse of mathematics — is an interesting speculation, but very few physicists would go so far as to say it’s predicted by physics.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted September 13, 2016 at 5:10 am | Permalink

        I agree. Tegmark counts a large, potentially infinite, universe as consisting of repeating observable volumes, based on that particle configurations will repeat (for a finite observable universe). But particles are just the natural excitations of particle fields, and there is a lot of quantum noise in the fields. I think his calculations are conservative at best, uninformative at worst.

        But the inflationary universe, local or not, is huge. The recent so far largest galaxy survey put a smaller bound on curvature ( < 1/3300, give or take). From that we can predict that the universe is likely more than 100 billion times larger in volume than the observable universe!

        [Of course, when a single observation is merged with the full cosmological data set, the curvature will go down. But the trend is that every larger observation predicts a larger universe.]

      • Charles Minus
        Posted September 13, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        I had the same misgivings, but since I am not a physicist or mathematician, I gave him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he is trying to express something in words that makes more sense in math. I think the point you raise is obvious, so much so that you would think it must also be obvious to the author. But maybe not.

  12. rickflick
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Far out man.

    • ploubere
      Posted September 12, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      Most apt comment.

    • Posted September 13, 2016 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      Thank you for not saying, “Far out, Dude.”

      • steve
        Posted September 13, 2016 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        “man” is sexist. You must be a White Privileged Generation XY.

        (sarc. :))

  13. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Or are they providing light for God-created species living on other planets?

    That is Paul Davies’s contention, I believe.

    [Davies is a deist, and besides being interested in dualism he is interested in other origins of life. Go figure.]

  14. rickflick
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    You can’t help but feel mightily impressed by images like this. For a charming take, here’s a star party where 20 high school kids and others are asked “What do you feel?”


  15. Steve Pollard
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    This is not new (and indeed in some respects superseded), and probably familiar to most readers, but worth re-posting anyway. Aimed at bright schoolkids: http://htwins.net/scale2/

  16. Posted September 13, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Stars too are coloured, and have a life cycle of sorts. And like living things, most of them we’ll never see. Maybe they too are part of the endless forms most beautiful. (And people do speak of “stellar evolution”.)

  17. jimroberts
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    When Gen 1 tells us that Elohim made the sun and the moon as lights in the firmament, it adds as an afterthought “he made the stars also”. So any distant stars out there were made by Elohim, but they weren’t made as lights for us and it doesn’t matter that we see them only with difficulty.

  18. Posted September 20, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Reasonable Rants and commented:
    If you didn’t feel small before, you will after this…

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