Tonestepa has been writing some downtempo tracks and asked me to write something about the Universe to be spoken over one of them. This is what I came up with.

Our solar system has 8 planets orbiting a medium sized star. There are about 400 billion stars in our galaxy and it would take light 80,000 years to pass across it. It is suggested that at its centre it harbours a supermassive black hole holding it all together.

Our galaxy is impossibly big to imagine and yet it is part of a local group which contains more than 40 galaxies. Most galaxies are organised into clusters like this which in turn are part of long, thin walls of super-clusters forming along and following web-like strings of dark matter. These sheets and filaments surround immense voids in the universe.

The Universe is at least 93 billion light years across and has probably 100 billion galaxies in. These numbers become completely meaningless. Its size is beyond understanding. It makes us seem totally insignificant. But are we? Do we have any significant purpose in this universe?

Our planet with its Iron and gold is made up of the remains of an ancient sun – an exploding supernova.  We are made up of the atoms of this planet. We are part of the planet. Our atoms intermingle and swap with the planet around us. There is no clear boundary between us and it.

But we have become something new. We can consider who we are, how we came into being. We explore the origins of the universe itself and try to work out its wonders. We are the planet become conscious – the universe become self-aware.

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