"Space is big," as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy famously says. "Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."
The Hitchhiker's Guide wasn't kidding. It's hard to get the true sense of how big space is when people tell you "the Sun is 149.6 million kilometers away" or "our galaxy is 105,000 light-years across". Even our standard unit of measurement – telling you how many blue whales it compares to – doesn't really help out here. Does it make it any clearer if we tell you the Sun is only 5,003,344,481 average-sized blue whales away? Thought not, but now you know.
How about if we told you that if you found 1.3 million clones of Earth and melted them down into a liquid goop (please don't by the way), you could fit them all into an empty sphere the size of the Sun? Still not helping? What if we told you how many elephants you'd have to crush down into a pulp?
What we're saying is, it's not that easy to picture. To help you get your head around it, Neal Agarwal created a truly amazing interactive visualization, which takes you from the size of an astronaut right up to the size of the entire observable universe.
The first WTF moment comes when comparing a human to the size of Bennu.
And then Bennu to the size of moons.
We won't spoil it for you – you really need to play around with it for yourself to get a proper sense of scale – but needless to say by the time you get to the size of the observable universe (at 93.016 billion light-years across), you're going to feel very small indeed.
You can check it out here.