Animation: Explore The Scale Of The Universe!

Mike vom Mars Blog animation ausdehnung bacteria bakterien cosmos dimension earth einzeller erde galaxy grösse des universums mond moon planeten planets scale of the universe scaling sonne sun universe video
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Trying to imagine the smallest things in our universe is a rather difficult task. Similarly, it is hard to truly conceive of the largest things in the cosmos—supermassive black holes, large quasar groups, and the most massive stars. So it’s not too surprising that simultaneously imagining the smallest of the small and the largest of the large is a mind-bendingly difficult task.

Fortunately, this awesome animation let’s you do just that. You can float all the way from the tiny nucleus of a hydrogen atom to the scale of the observable universe:

This animation illustrates the scale of over 100 items within the observable universe—ranging from animals and insects, nebulae and stars, to molecules and atoms.

Each time you zoom in a depth, you’re magnifying the universe 10x … and every time you zoom out, the bigger objects are 1/10th of their prior size. If you zoom from the biggest object, The Observable Universe (8.8 x 10E26 … or 880,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000m across), all the way down to the hydrogen atom’s proton nucleus (1.7 x 10E-15 … or 0.0000000000000017m across), you will have zoomed in over 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000x! Unbelievable isn’t it?

Our universe really is immensely massive and surprisingly small.

The Observable Universe

Astronomers have measured the age of the universe to be approximately 13.8 billion years old. Because of the connection between distance and the speed of light, this means they can look at a region of space that lies 13.8 billion light-years away. Like a ship in the empty ocean, astronomers on Earth can turn their telescopes to peer 13.8 billion light-years in every direction, which puts Earth inside of an observable sphere with a radius of 13.8 billion light-years. The word “observable” is key; the sphere limits what scientists can see but not what is there.

But though the sphere appears almost 28 billion light-years in diameter, it is far larger. Scientists know that the universe is expanding. Thus, while scientists might see a spot that lay 13.8 billion light-years from Earth at the time of the Big Bang, the universe has continued to expand over its lifetime. Today, that same spot is 46 billion light-years away, making the diameter of the observable universe a sphere around 92 billion light-years.

Centering a sphere on Earth’s location in space might seem to put mankind in the center of the universe. However, like that same ship in the ocean, we cannot tell where we lie in the enormous span of the universe. Just because we cannot see land does not mean we are in the center of the ocean; just because we cannot see the edge of the universe does not mean we lie in the center of the universe.

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