Here's the part of my handout dealing with our "local" space—Earth and our sun. In Part 3 we'll look at our solar system, and in posts after that our galaxy and then the universe. At the end of each will be a "God Thought". I encourage you to read and meditate on them. After all, knowledge for the sake of knowledge simply puffs us up and makes us arrogant—we then become people who spout all the right words and arguments, but have nothing of the love, humility, and gentle service of Christ. And, without love, we have nothing. The point of this knowledge is to glorify God, strengthen our faith, and equip us for the work of ministry. May God bless you as your read these. (Note: Please remember the statement in Part 1 that, though I state these things as fact, I obviously can't personally verify them through observation or my own measurement, and I can't even tell you where on the internet I got them all. Not to mention that the numbers probably change with every new discovery or better telescope. I can say I tried hard to use facts I found in multiple places, and to not exaggerate anything to make a point.)
Earth—one of eight (or nine?) planets orbiting our sun, making up our solar system. Mostly covered in water, it is almost 25,000 miles around at the equator. It rotates on its axis fully once per day, which means we are spinning at over 1,000 miles per hour at the equator. At the same time we are spinning at over 1,000 miles per hour, we are orbiting the sun (which is 93 million miles away from us) at almost 67,000 miles per hour, all on this shell of rock and land and water that contains inside it a core with temperatures estimated between 7,000–12,000°F (to compare, water boils at 212°F, and human skin is supposedly not comfortable above 140°F). And yet, we can balance on a balance beam, sip coffee without spilling, play catch, experience sun and snow, and sleep peacefully.
Our Sun—our nearest star, has a diameter 109 times bigger than the earth’s. We could fit 1.3 million earths inside our sun. The sun makes up 99.8% of the mass in our solar system, with Jupiter and Saturn taking up most of the other .2% (the earth really doesn’t even register on the scale). The center of the Sun is approximately 27,000,030°F, and the surface of the Sun is about 9,932°F.
And yet, our sun is rather tiny in comparison to other stars out there. For example, Canis Majoris, the largest known star in volume (not mass) has a radius that is estimated to be 1,800–2,100 times larger than our sun’s radius, and to be around 500,000 times brighter than our sun. One site said that if you were to make a model, with our earth a sphere of a diameter of .39 inches (less than half an inch), then, to represent Canis Majoris you’d need a sphere with a diameter of 1.43 miles! And, R136A1, the largest know star by mass (not volume), is estimated to have surface temperatures exceeding 72,000°F—seven times hotter than our sun’s surface temperature!