I remember when I was a little kid…a million was just the most incredibly huge number.  It was mind-boggling.  I distinctly remember a local school that decided to count a million dried peas, and what a huge space it filled.  I was impressed by how BIG a million was.

Today millions and billions are tossed about blithely, just common household terms.  Now we hear of trillions, and that’s a number so big I really can’t comprehend it.

But this little illustration helped me to get just a little better perspective. 

1 million seconds ago was 12 days ago
1 billion seconds ago was 30 years ago
1 trillion seconds ago would have been about 30,000 B.C.

According to this site there are only about 6.78 billion people in the world, so…

One trillion would be over 150 times the number of people in the world. 

It’s around 10 times the number of stars estimated to be in the Milky Way.  (though of course, that number is only a ‘shot in the dark’ estimate, because we can’t even see nearly all of them, so how could we possibly count them?)

It’s really incredible. 

A trillion is, quite simply, a bigger number than God has enabled our minds to deal with.




About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to MillionBillionTrillion

  1. A year ago, if someone had mentioned the word trillion, you might as well have said a kajillion as it would make as much sense. Today, it’s common. What number will we get used to next? 

  2. t’was originally “1001 and one – that number of enormously large…. 1001 arabian nighs

  3. agnophilo says:

    Actually there are about half a trillion stars in the milky way, and no we don’t have to count them, we count them in an area of space and average it out to get an estimate, not to mention working with scientists on the dynamics of star formation and the amount of matter for stars, the number of detectable normally invisible dwarf stars etc.But whatever, I’m going to sleep.  /nerd rant.

  4. homefire says:

    @agnophilo – yeah, there’s a huge variation on those estimates of the number of stars, depending on which number they use for the average (because that number is impossible to pin down, too)  But most of the sources I checked give 100 billion, though some actually siad 200 to 400 billion.  I didn’t actually find any that estimated as much as half a trillion, but they way they keep changing the supposed age of the earth, it’s possible.  Those kind of numbers, as I said, are nothing but theory anyway, because they’re outside of our actual human comprehension.

  5. agnophilo says:

    @homefire – 100 billion?  Andromeda is estimated based on thousands of sattelite photos to have about a trillion stars, and our galaxy is 80% the size of andromeda.  Ours is one of the bigger types of galaxies out there, and has several smaller galaxies orbiting around it.

  6. bafocus_2 says:

    @homefire – It’s all large numbers ~ This was one of my calcs last year when they were bailing out all the banks ~ If you received $500 per second from birth, you would be 63.4 years old before you had received One Trillion Dollars!!

  7. homefire says:

    @bafocus_2 – yikes!@agnophilo – I don’t have a clue, but I googled “number of stars in MilkyWay” and out of the first 10 or so entries, the majority gave the number as 100 billion.  That is the extent of my knowledge, so I am certainly willing to bow to someone who has actually studied it, because I sure haven’t!    I only decided to do the comparison out of curiosity.

  8. BooksForMe says:

    Unreal!  It is just unreal.  I think this lack of understanding of just how much bigger a trillion is than a billion or a million is one reason we aren’t more upset about the stimulus plan, Cash for Clunkers, etc.  We just don’t get it!  Yikes!  This is just about horrifying the more I think about it.

  9. mejicojohn says:

    ive always thought,, if i had 13 trillion dollars,, i may not have to ever work again…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s