Today marks one more year and another trip around the sun for me. For you, and also me, and everything on earth that provides it through another year on this world, there"s a totality lot we gain to experience.

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Image credit: NASA / ISS exploration 13.

Some things room tiny: the Earth"s rotation slow by about two millionths of a second each year, when some space large: us hurtle end 900 million kilometers in outer room as we orbit roughly the Sun. Our planet spins just over 366 time on that axis, while ours one transformation around the sunlight leaves us v 365 (and an occasional 366) job in a year.

But looking past the Earth, virtually everything you can imagine in the Universe has actually undergone a lot of in the critical year you"ve been on Earth.


Image credit: NASA, that Tracy Caldwell Dyson, via Wayne Hale.

Every satellite we"ve put up, including the vaunted International space Station, races around the planet as we go about our everyday lives. The low-Earth-orbit people (like the ISS) race around the planet at speeds approximately 17,000 miles-per-hour (27,000 km/hr), an interpretation that over the food of a year, they orbit the Earth roughly 6,000 times.

But while our Solar device is full of exciting facts and motions, whatever I"ve mentioned and also much, much an ext hurtles about the galaxy -- imperceptibly -- together the year unfold.


Image credit: Josch Hambsch"s CCD Imaging, additional processing by me.

The whole Solar mechanism speeds v the galaxy, travel 7 exchange rate kilometers each year in our Sun"s journey with the galaxy"s disk. However life go on in the galaxy over that time, as gas clouds contract, forming brand-new stars all the time.


Image credit: T. A. Rector & B. A. Wolpa, NOAO, AURA.

Each year, about a million new stars about a Solar Mass"s worth of stars (reference here) kind in the galaxy, greatly in star creating regions favor the Eagle Nebula, above. At the exact same time, stars in our galaxy burn out and die, but not quite at the same rate.


Image credit:, retrieved indigenous Margaret Hanson, U. Of Cincinnati.

Stars die spectacularly throughout the galaxy, yet the vast majority of stars we type have a lifetime that"s much greater 보다 the present age the the Universe. As a result -- also optimistically -- only dozens of stars dice each millenium in our Milky Way, an interpretation that annually that passes marks one extra new star or so in every galaxy in the Universe.

And those galaxies, themselves, are various on this particular day than lock were even a year ago.

Image credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo of Deep skies Colors.

The nearest huge cluster that galaxies -- the Virgo Cluster, above -- has approximately 1,600 large, Milky Way-sized (or larger) galaxies in it, and also lives just 53 million light years away. It"s likewise speeding away from us at end 1,200 kilometers per second, definition that every year that walk by look at that whole cluster wind up an additional 40 exchange rate kilometers farther away from us.

In fact, if you live to be 229, friend would find this cluster an extra light year distant from united state than when you to be born. Yet that"s because that the closest cluster the galaxies come us; what around the farthest galaxy we"ve ever before discovered?


Image credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth and also the HUDF09 Team.

The light from this galaxy -- discovered in the Hubble Ultra Deep ar -- took 13.1 exchange rate years, or 96% that the age of the Universe, to with us. However the cosmos is broadening so quickly that yearly that overcome sees this galaxy much more than two extra light years far-off from us! also if we launched a spaceship now at 99.999999999%+ the speed of light at this galaxy, the would never ever reach it. As yearly passes, possibly 20 or so galaxies newly suffer this fate: that they become unreachable, even in theory, indigenous our place in the Universe.

So happy birthday to me and everyone who shares one more year ~ above the planet with me, and may the Universe proceed to amaze and also educate us all.

star formation
stellar death

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Happy date of birth! If only much more stars favor YOU to be born on ours Earth... At the very least one a te please?

By Adam (not verified) ~ above 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Happy Birthday!

By Chelle (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Happy B-day Ethan and also all the best. Keep up the good work and live long and also prosper! ;)

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) top top 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

What deserve to I say - you made countless things much more understandable. And much much more interesting because that a layman. Thank You and keep up a good work.

Best regards.

PS strange thing: 4 comments and also another one from Poland :-) .

By Marian Maroszek (not verified) top top 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

"...each year that passes look at this galaxy much more than two extra light years far-off from us!"

Does this typical that this galaxy is receding from us at double the speed of light? If so, climate how have the right to we watch it?

Did I miss out on something here?

By Jockaira (not verified) ~ above 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Happy birthday! i hope the is a wonderful occasion.:)

By Chelsea (not verified) top top 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Happy birthday. And also I"m as mystified as Jockaira (and an RAH fan)

By john McC (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

I agree Jockaira,I must have missed miscellaneous too.That indicates that both ours galaxy and also this far-off galaxy space relatively, each relocating away native each various other at faster than the speed of light.Could someone please enlighten me?Nice reflective blog though!

By Canoath (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

"Just remember the you"re standing on a planet that"s evolving; revolving in ~ 900 mile an hour." - M. PythonHere"s come one an ext time approximately for all of us!

By SnoreFoot (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Many an ext happy return of the day.

By Sathish (not verified) ~ above 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Happy birthday, and best wishes for your next trip v the Earth roughly the sun!

(Aren"t our galaxy and also this distant galaxy supposedly receding from each various other at over the speed of light because the activity in component results indigenous the distance in between them raising with the universal growth of space? I understand objects can"t exceed the rate of light, but I think the universe as a entirety is exempt.)

By Parhelion (not verified) ~ above 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

Happy birthday, Ethan, and also thank girlfriend for giving us this exorbitant blog!

By Darcy Vieira (not verified) top top 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

Happy birthday from this next of the planet.

By XVI (not verified) ~ above 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

“…each year the passes look at this galaxy much more than two extra irradiate years remote from us!”

Does this typical that this galaxy is receding from us at double the rate of light? If so, then how have the right to we check out it?

I guess there was a time that those galaxies weren"t moving so quick away, and also the light that was emitted in our direction throughout that pre-faster-than-c-time is what we are observing now.

btw theoretically we might visit those Deep field clusters in 25 person years, once we space onboard the a spaceship that constantly speeds up with 1G, as result of time dilation. However sadly there appears to it is in that also weird expansion.

By chelle (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

"If so, then how deserve to we watch it?"

An interesting phenomenon would certainly be, if what I argued in mine previous comment is correct, the there will certainly come a time the clusters begin to disappear prior to our very own eyes, zap, zap, zap, …

By Chelle (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

Happy birthday Ethan! expect you blew out every the candles on the cake and also wished many much more years of creating this wonderfully inspiring blog!

By Tihomir (not verified) ~ above 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

"each year the passes marks an extra million-or-so stars in every galaxy in the Universe."

But the Milky way galaxy is 13.2 billion year old and also only has actually 300 billion stars (i.e. 3 x 10^11 stars) 1.3 x 10^10 years x 10^6 stars /year = 1.3 x 10^16 stars. I assume there is a factor for this discrepancy.

This is a pretty superior claim.So the greater the z (i.e. Redshift that a galaxy) the reduced the variety of stars in the galaxy.Please suggest me to a reference.Or... What am i misunderstanding?

By OKThen (not verified) top top 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

"Even if we launched a spaceship this particular day at 99.999999999%+ the speed of irradiate at this galaxy, it would never reach it. (the the furthest galaxy we’ve ever before discovered)."

But the highest energy cosmic rays carry out not travel throughout the cosmos at a consistent velocity. . Castle accelerate repetitively (somehow) in their journey throughout the universe. Otherwise, lock wouldn"t exceed the GZK limit.

Likewise, a spacecraft through low initial velocity the is continuously sped up by numerous g"s deserve to reach a an ext distant galaxy than one v an early (and constant) velocity same to "99.999999999%+ the rate of irradiate ". Too an initial velocity equal to "99.999999999%+ the speed of light " implies an virtually infinite instantaneous acceleration that would kill a human.

fine anyway this is just how my spaceship is designed. Still, perhaps I misunderstand something? permit me know.

At any type of rate, you"re tho young Ethan. With appropriate accelleration friend still deserve to reach the most remote galaxy before your critical birthday. Time dilation early to constant gravitational accelleration of numerous g"s is the ticket.

So happy birthday, live lengthy as you enjoy and travel the universe.

By OKThen (not verified) top top 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

Thaks to Chelle because that explaining Ethan"s apparently impossible statement. This shows the worth of determining precisely which space-time structure is gift considered.

What i missed was that the light through which we check out "this galaxy" has been in transit for billions that years and also the actual motions of "this galaxy" space not in the exact same space-time frame as the light or ours non-existant awareness of "this galaxy".

Belatedly, ns wish Ethan and everyone else right here a Happy birthday in whatever space-time frame it occurs.

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By Jockaira (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink


Thanks for providing me part credit, but I don"t understand if my tip is correct, because there would be additionally an various other odd thing, and also that is the reality that the speed of gravitational waves is the same as the rate of light, so in ~ a certain point Stars would start to be disconnected, since they carry out not just shines, they additionally pull .... Exactly how is this keeping it all together, room them waves being stretched, like just how Wow claims that "the photon acquired stretched"? perhaps this is something that Ethan might explain in more detail in one extra topic.