In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’m posting this notecard I found in the King Center’s archive. At a time when astronomy is struggling with issues around equal inclusion, and with racism being one of the most pernicious challenges we face (both in the sciences and in society as a whole), I thought it was nice to see a reminder that many people stop to consider their place in the universe (even if they pursue other goals day-to-day). And in his own handwriting, no less! I’ve also transcribed the note below (added emphasis mine).
A few stars are known which are hardly bigger than the earth, but the majority are so large that hundreds of thousands of earths could be pack inside each and leave room to spare here and there we come upon a giant star large enough to contain millions of millions of earths. And the total number of stars in the universe is probably something like the total number of grains of sand on all the sea-shoes of the world. Such is the littleness of our home in space when measured up again the total substance of the universe.“