You may remember Cosmos, the 1980 PBS series by Carl Sagan. Maybe you also recall Sagan’s “Cosmic Calendar” from the series, where in order to put the immensely vast history of the universe into a comprehensible scale, he mapped it onto a calendar year. In other words, if the entire history of the universe were one year, with the big bang in the first second of midnight on January first, and the present day on the last second of December 31st, New Year’s Eve. A project of mine this year has been to note the major events in the Cosmic Calendar, on the real calendar, on this blog!
September 14th on the Cosmic Calendar: The sun, our solar system, and the Earth form. At this point the Earth is molten, and undergoing frequent impacts, the period referred to as ‘heavy bombardment’. There is no moon just yet either.
Think back to the beginning of the year. Imagining the history of the universe as the year… here we are approaching the end of the year and only just now is there even a planet for us, and it’s far from liveable yet. This starts to give a sense of just how inconceivably vast is the span of time we’re talking about. This is only the third post in this series — only the third event in the history of the universe that most people would care about. There will be two more posts — one later this month and one in November, then 15 or 16 all in December! The dinosaurs are right before Christmas and the mammals right after! Ancient history is right at the end of the year with us today!