The Scale of the Universe

John Rentoul

scale 300x237 The Scale of the UniverseWhen I gave you the vampire bat yesterday, it was because I came across it when I was looking for something else (I’m sure that there is a word for that).

I was actually looking for the video below, showing the relative sizes of planets and stars, which I still can’t find on Olaf Davis’s blog but which I have now found elsewhere.

As I was searching, however, I came across — on Olaf Davis’s blog — something even better (there really ought to be a word for it), which is this animated graphic (still image, right) showing scale from the diameter of the observable universe to a “Planck length”, much shorter than that of a neutrino or preon, shorter than which would make “no physical sense” .

Wait for it to load and then move the slider left for smaller and right for larger.

Well, I thought it was astonishing.

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  • Fareham

    John, have you nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon ? Yes, science in all its forms is a wonderful world, which is why so many of us have made it our careers. I’m told that Bill Bryson’s book : A Short History of Nearly Everything : is a very good introduction to practical applications of science for the non-scientists.Incidentally what is that illustration with the cup and the ostrich egg supposed to be ? If nothing else, the numeric layout is wrong – the exponent comes after the mantissa, not before it. So 12cm is 1.2E-01m or 1.2 10-1m. and Avogadro’s number (roughly the number of molecules in a litre of air) is a mere 6 1023 or 600 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 or 600 hexillion. You could fit 4.3 1026 Mercuries into VV Cephei which is approximately the number of molecules in 700 litres of air.

  • True_Belle

    Thanks for this amazing , well , what is it really, far too clever for me. The wizardry of both graphics have provided me with an excuse to say’Hey family, come and have a look at this’ Thanks to all, more again, please.

  • jim

    Ah, but could it show the magnitude of the limitations of John Prescott’s imagination . . . ?

  • KingofWelshNoir

    The ’size of the universe’ graphic is spookily good. Thanks for sharing it. More spooky still, is the view held by some physicists that when you slide the bar to the extreme right and end up with the universe, that universe is one of a myriad others like gas bubbles in lemonade.

  • double_oh_heaven

    The word for ’something even better’, is betterer. I thought everyone knew that.

  • double_oh_heaven

    Even better than betterer, is well betterer.

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