How much is a billion?

spacer image Our planet is 4.55 billion (4,550,000,000) years old!
spacer image Compared with other animals, humans have long lives. Relative to the 4.55 billion-year history of our planet, however, our 80-year life spans pass in an instant of time. Because we tend to think in terms of months and years, time periods that affect our daily lives, it’s sometimes difficult to comprehend the immense amount of time that geologists refer to as 'geologic time'.
spacer image So, how much is a billion? The answer depends on who you ask! Americans do not agree with the British on names for numbers over a million! The American system is shown here.
1 Thousand 1,000 103
1 Million 1,000,000 106
1 Billion 1,000,000,000 109
1 Trillion 1,000,000,000,000 1012
1 Quadrillion 1,000,000,000,000,000 1015
1 Quintillion 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 1018
Still can’t imagine numbers this big? How about this:

How long would it take to count to one billion?

Try it! Start counting one number a second without stopping until you reach a billion. You will be able to stop in 31 years, 259 days, 1 hours, 46 minutes, and 40 seconds!

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This page was last updated on 12/22/98