For my first official blog post, I’d like to write about the Powers of Ten video, and the subsequent site I came across because of it. Although I have seen the Powers of Ten video in a class several years ago, watching it again filled me with the same sense of curiosity and amazement as I felt the first time. After watching the video, which can be viewed here, I was curious to see if another, more recent version of this video had been released. After all, we’ve come a long way technologically since 1977. Through a quick google search, I came across an interactive website called Scale of the Universe. Paying homage to the original 1977 video, this website used the same fundamental idea of Powers of 10 help further our understanding of relative sizes, and the vastness of our universe.
Power of 10 begins by presenting a window of 1 meter x 1 meter, and increasing this scale 10x greater every 10 seconds, providing a journey beginning in Chicago and eventually reaching the far corners of our universe. Scale of the Universe, combines this with increased notions of relativity. While Power of 10 begins with a couple enjoying a picnic, clicking ‘Start’ on Scale of the Universe shows several objects of similar size, as shown below.
Next, you are able to drag the scale larger or smaller, zooming into a helium nucleus at 10^(-14.3), or zooming out to the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy at 10^20. Looking comparatively between Power of 10 and Scale of the Universe, my exploration of this website focused on the objects greater than 10^0. However, I thought it was interesting to note that once you click ‘Start’, beginning at the size of a human (10^0 on their scale), more than 1/2 of this scale extends to the left, into the negative exponents. I think this points to an exciting fact of Astronomy that there is still so much left to be explored, much more than has been discovered. While we have extensive knowledge of cells and tiny organisms, the immense vastness of space is more difficult to detail on this website. Additionally, I really liked that Scale of the Universe worked to enable an understanding of relativity by including a variety of objects, some physical (central park), some biological (japanese spider crabs) and some inanimate (FM Radio wave length). I have included a sample frame below:
This helped with the discrepancy in that distance between objects creates when we look into space. Overall, I highly recommend playing around on this site!!