Almost three decades ago, I went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco. It reminded me of the Museum of Science And Industry in Chicago, or the Deutsches Museum, which I went to daily during my week's stay in Munich. If you have any doubt that I harbor the brain of a five-year-old, these visits should utterly erase it. Not only am I a science geek, but a hands-on science geek. I guess that comes from being a primate.
The next time I was in SF, maybe two to three years later, I went again to the Exploratorium. And that time I left the gift shop with a sweatshirt that had an image of the galaxy printed on it, with an arrow pointing into a spiral arm two-thirds of the way out from galactic center that said "You Are Here". And I wore that sweatshirt unashamedly until became a ratty paint-rag. I would even, if properly jollied, sing "The Galaxy Song", and sometimes when I was wearing it.
Can you possibly think of an even more circus geek thing to do? Well, how about this. Our local stellar neighborhood, or even, the galactic neighborhood, has become rather boring and tame to me.
(I actually made a 3D model of the closest stars. I mounted the stars in their proper positions. I found different sized plastic beads to represent stars large and small. I glued together beads for the binary and trinary stellar systems. I even painted little plastic beads the correct color. And worst of all, I did not label them, as I knew the star names by heart. I was twenty-two years old when I did that. I kept that stellar diorama until well into my thirties. Sad, huh?)
I didn't go quite so far with making a diorama of the galaxy, but give me an excuse, and I might.
But there is a much bigger picture. The Local Galactic Group encompasses a volume of billions of cubic light years, but the Virgo Supercluster, our larger home in the Universe contains quadrillions.
And it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.
That's what she said.