Many astronomers use the terms Light Year, Parsec, and Astronomical Unit as if they are understood by everyone. But how many people really know what a Parsec is? How many people fully grasp that a Light Year is the distance light would travel (at 12 million miles a minute) after an entire year?
A Parsec, very simply, is the parallax of one second of arc. Try explaining that one to an 8 year old.
Now almost everyone has heard of Einstein’s theory of relativity, E=mc2
Well, that’s a little too complicated to go into here…So what I would like to do, is introduce to you my theory, which we’ll call the Rives Theory of Relativity. That is: If your relatives can’t understand what you are talking about, you need to use simpler terms.
Our fastest space probes launched by NASA are currently hurtling through space at a speed of almost 40,000 miles per hour.
Another aspect of the Rives Theory of Relativity is that relative to the speed of our fastest spacecraft, we can determine how long it would take to reach an object in space.
This simplifies distances. Just as we all know that going 60 miles an hour, we can arrive at a destination 60 miles away in one hour; we can determine how long it would take us to reach objects in space traveling at the speed of our fastest spacecraft.
Outside of the Solar System, our closest star is in the Alpha Centauri group, a very small star known as Proxima Centauri. It is about 4.2 light years away. But let’s simplify it using the Rives Theory of Relativity:
Relative to the speed of our fastest spacecraft, 40,000 miles per hour, it would take us an amazing 70,000 years just to reach our closest star!
This puts the closest galaxies outside the Milky Way at an incredible distance.
Just a glimpse at the grandeur of the universe.
I’m David Rives –
Truly – The Heavens Declare the Glory of God.