Just How Big Is the Universe?

Contributor: Rebecca Highland. Lesson ID: 10377

How big are you? Are you bigger than some of your friends? Are you bigger than the earth? See how big (or small!) you are with videos and fun projects about the size of the universe!


Space Science and Astronomy

learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • How big is the universe?
  • What can you use to measure it?

Understanding the size of the universe is a difficult task!

The universe is HUGE. Try to put the size of the universe into perspective.

  • Have you visited a beach?

If so, consider all the sand you saw on the shore. Compare the small pieces of sand on the beach to the universe.

There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on the beach!

The sun is just a star like the ones you see at night in the sky. Tons of those stars in the sky have little solar systems, just like we do. The universe is HUGE.

Watch this video journey from the earth to the end of the universe.

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  • How can distance in such a huge universe be determined?

Units like feet, meters, or even miles cannot be used. The closest star to the earth (the sun) is millions of miles away!

To solve this problem, scientists invented a unit called the light-year. A light-year is the distance that light can travel in one year.

For perspective, light from the sun takes about eight minutes to get to the earth. This means that the sun is eight light-minutes away.

The sun is not even one full light-year away from the earth! A light-year is about six trillion miles away.

  • Can you imagine that distance?

Watch the following video to learn more.

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Good thing it is only a short distance to the Got It? section for more!

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