A Septillion Snowflakes Fall on Canada Each Year and What It Means

According to Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips, a septillion snowflakes fall on Canada each year. That’s a fact every Canadian should know so that the next time anyone asks them about lots of snow in Canada, they can quantify it. Then here’s how to put it into perspective for someone.

So what’s a septillion? It’s a one followed by 24 zeroes… and quite possibly the largest number you’ll have had to deal with in your life. Infinity doesn’t count because you can’t write it as a number.

Even the largest numbers otherwise are expressed in units which reduces their size to make them more manageable to the human mind. Take the size of the universe, for instance. It’s about 14 billion light years. It’s a BIG distance, but put in light years, it’s only on a billion scale.

Put it in something more common, like kilometres, and you’ve got another thing going. That would be 1, followed by 23 zeroes, kilometres.

Approximately 13,254,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilometres if you wanted a few more digits (though only two would be significant… for you geeks out there).

But that’s still only about 13% of 1 septillion!

So to put it in perspective for someone besides a number with 24 zeroes behind it, which is a bit meaningless, you can tell them it’s about 10 times more kilometres than the “width” of the universe.

Now that’s big!

Share that with someone! 🙂

10 other fascinating facts about snow (we Canadians might get sick of it, but so many others in the world dream of seeing it!)

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