Man's physical universe



It is well at this point to emphasize the fact that our present ideas

concerning the nature of the universe are founded on scientific observations

but that they are subject to a considerable change due to the

meagerness of our information and judgment.

In the next Section we shall return to our own little Solar System.

Do not think for a moment, however, that nothing more remains to

challenge the imagination. For as we turn to the study of smaller

things — the sun, the earth, ourselves, down to microscopic objects —

and still others out beyond the range of the microscopic objects — we

again become confronted with the unknown. But now let us hasten on

to the study of the vast known that lies between these realms, for our

penetration of the unknown is all based on this firm foundation.

How Important Is Man in This Vast Scheme of Things?

Man now wonders what his position in the universe is. It is true

that the modern revelations of the universe have administered a rude

shock to man's conception of his relative importance; but on the other

hand, he gains respect for he comes to realize what knowledge

his intellect has made possible.

It is well to keep in mind that although,

astronomically speaking, man is very small, still astronomically speaking,

he is the astronomer.


1. What is the nature of the extragalactic nebulae according to modern theories?

2. How many extragalactic nebulae are there?

3. What forms do extragalactic nebulae take?

4. What is the distance of the Andromeda Spiral from the earth?

5. Discuss the motion of extragalactic nebulae.

6. How has the picture of the universe, as revealed by modern astronomy,

changed your thoughts concerning yourself and your importance in the vast

cosmic scheme?

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