There’s an old chestnut in astronomy — “Galaxies are like people. They’re only normal until you get to know them.” I thought it might be due to Sandy Faber, but decided to execute some google-fu to see if I could track down the provenance of the quote.
It turns out that the internet thinks there are lots of ways that galaxies are like people:
Galaxies are like people: the better you get to know them, the more peculiar they often seem. (from the always awesome Sydney van den Bergh)
Galaxies are like people. Thanks to gravity, they like living in groups.
Spiral galaxies are like people: they fray as they age.
Galaxies are like people. They grow when they’re young and stop growing when they settle into adulthood.
Galaxies are like people: they depend on both genetics and environment. (also from Sydney)
Galaxies are like people: they are born, they live and they die.
These are actually all pretty decent analogies, but I have a feeling we haven’t even begun to tap the potential of this framework. “Spiral galaxies are like people: most have two arms.” “Galaxies are like people. They grow in mass as they age.” “Galaxies are like people. Sometimes they eject gas when they’ve eaten too much.”
However, people are not so much like galaxies, only turning up one hit:
Great people are like galaxies. Their hearts are big black holes pulling everything in.
I can’t figure out if that’s supposed to be a good or bad thing.