Thursday, November 06, 2008

God's architecture - Part IV

How many atoms are in the entire universe?


or, 1 sexvigintillion (1 followed by 81 zeros or 10^81)

Someone on the Internet did the math, well, kind of, I think making a few assumptions.

Atoms in the Universe

10^66 estimates the the number of atoms in our galaxy to be in the area of 10^68 and, if dark and exotic matter are considered, then their numbers are possibly close to 10^69.

In 10^9, it is stated that there is a wide range of estimates given for the number of galaxies in the universe. Some put the number in the very low 100 billions, others bring it much closer to the one trillion mark.

The size of other galaxies range from one million to hundreds of billions of stars. The mass of some of the largest galaxies is trillions of times the mass of our sun. Again, it is supposed that much of this mass consists of dark and exotic matter.

If we consider our galaxy to be of average size, and use the highest estimates for both the number of atoms in our galaxy and the total number of galaxies, then the universe would contain about one trillion times the number of atoms as our galaxy. Since our galaxy probably has no more than 10^69 atoms, this would mean that at most the universe contains 10^69 x 10^12 atoms in all. This works out to be just under 10^81.

If we use lower estimates for the number of atoms in our galaxy and total number of galaxies, then the total number of atoms would be as much as 20 times less, or within the area of 10^79.

Hence, "atoms in the universe" belongs on this page which spans from 10^78 to just under 10^81.


Anonymous said...

If I might ask, does the Blake painting on your blog have a name, I've seen it b4 but do no know its' name. Thanks

Bro. Bartleby said...

Actually a wood engraving by an anonymous artist. It is referred to as the 'Flammarion Woodcut' because it first appeared in an 1888 book by the astronomer Camille Flammarion.

Mouse said...

I'm disappointed, I thought the Universe was bigger than that, did we lose a few atoms somewhere? A thought that I cling to and that gives me comfort is that we all came from the stars and we will all, one day return to them...