All Things Big and Small

“Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you might think it’s a long walk down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

Douglas Adams – “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

I think everyone pretty much gets that the universe is a really, really, BIG place, but have you ever stopped to consider just how many steps in scale can exist in such a large place? Well now, thanks to the wonderful interactive demo I found by way of the Metousiosis blog’s The Scale of the Universe post, we can all get a decent feel for it:

Cary and Michael Huang present The Scale of the Universe, an interactive site exploring the scales between the Planck length (10^-35 meters) and the estimated size of the universe (93,000,000,000 light-years or 9.3 x 10^26 meters). Click through to view.

Via The Scale of the Universe Β« Metousiosis

More cool Cary and Michael Huang stuff

I want ice water.

More Visual Treats

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38 thoughts on “All Things Big and Small

    • I really love this stuff too, but it’s also given me my share of headaches. I’d love to have some place I can go to ask questions without fear of being laughed at! πŸ˜€

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  1. That whole space thing scares me. My head just can’t get around the fact there is no end, it goes on for infinity. We are taught that everything has a start and an end. I have always believed that Earth could be an atom in a chair leg…and some day that chair is going to break 😯

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  2. thank you SO much for this posted referral… I am totally impressed by anyone who knows what a Planck length is!!! My science background is self taught, as are any other skills I possess…
    I know I will enjoy your blog immensely, tho I think I haz some ketch(in)up to do!!! and thank you as well for following my blog – I am really new to the blogosphere and feel honored that someone such as yourself could find something of interest there… I’m not usually this verbose, so now I must rest my word brain…
    have a nice weekend and pleasure to meetcha!!!
    πŸ™‚

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    • Self taught, eh? Well you’re in good company my friend, because most of what I know was learned while playing hooky from school in the public library! 😳

      But alas, I think my friend Metousiosis has knowledge far exceeding my own, and I suspect that you’re no slouch either! πŸ˜€

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  3. I’m generally content to think of the universe as something much, much too large for me to even begin to comprehend. Like Loon, I have trouble with the infinity thing. How can something go on forever, and if it doesn’t, then what lies beyond it? Or if it can go on forever because it’s curved, I don’t understand that curvature, and it still leaves me wondering what’s beyond or outside the curve. Oh well, luckily I don’t need to understand those things to manage just fine in my everyday life.

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    • I can’t honestly say that my understanding of these things is all that great, but I do so like thinking about them. The funny thing is that, according to the Science Channel program I’m watching as I write this, scientists don’t think of “infinity” as something that actually exists, but rather an answer that proves the theory that produced it as a result is wrong! πŸ˜€

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      • Now, that’s just a little mind-boggling!

        I figure space curls back in on itself, into tinier and tinier dimensions existing between everything else. That it not just expands from the edge outwards, but expands, or digs, inwards infinately as well. Which, indeed, may be driving the outward expansion! I used to love this stuff, but my brain is exhausted these days. I’ll check out that blog, though, Thanks!

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        • I really would like to expand my knowledge of these things, but the science shows on TV leave me with more questions than answers and my eyes just can’t handle the strain of pursuing it on the web. I’d love to be able to just go spend as much time as I like watching, listening, and talking to the people that appear in those shows! πŸ˜€

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  4. I’m a science nerd so… I ~loved~ this post. All branches of science are my friends. I’ve actually made a list of books that I needed to read one day. β€œThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” was on it. *sighs* I am very behind on my reading.

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    • I absolutely loved β€œThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!” Unfortunately, I can’t read the way I used to before the depression set in. Like the boy from The Neverending Story, I used to “fall into” stories so fully that the wrenching experience of coming back out again became too much. Having to resist that kind of immersion just takes all the fun out of it.

      BTW, if you liked this post, you ought to check out the All About the Mandelbrot Set page from the same source – especially the “Zoom Videos” tab! πŸ˜€

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  5. I shall check it out, but for now I’ve got to go. I will be haunting your blog. My scientific spirit likes it. Wow I just made a spam comment!

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    • Funny! If you look at the “All-Time Champs” list in my sidebar, you’ll see that the top two are “Black On The Right Side” and “The Final Frontier!” πŸ˜€

      Always great to have you visit Sue. You have a great Saturday too! πŸ˜€

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  6. Space is ever expanding, the expansion speed is related to the distance between planets ( the closer the planets the slower the speed moving apart.)
    But some day they will slow down, stop, and then gravity will take over and start pulling all the planets together again, in fact reversing the big bang, ending in and setting of another big bang.
    But before the bang every form of life will be dead from the heat etc.

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    • Observations show that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating towards something nicknamed “The Big Chill” – where even the atoms that make everything up are eventually torn apart by the expansion process. Of course, that is a VERY long time in the future! Much sooner than that, however, our sun will go through the “red giant” phase where it size will increase enough to heat-scour (if not completely engulf) the Earth. That’s just a mere 5 billion years off. πŸ˜€

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  7. Big Chill is so called because the might/could be no heat.
    If the universe does not have enough matter within it, then the gravitation generated by matter would be too weak to stop the universe from growing. This would cause the universe to expand forever. As the universe continued to grow, the galaxies would get dimmer and dimmer as they sped away. The stars would inevitably exhaust their nuclear fuel and their light would eventually be extinguished. The universe would thus end up having no light and no heat — which is the state known as the Big Chill.

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    • Uh, I think I just said that? Of course neither of us mentioned that the current theory as for why gravity isn’t slowing the expansion down involves this thing they’re calling “dark energy.” I’m no happier with such a “stopgap” explanation than Einstein was with his “cosmological constant,” but it’ll have to do until a better explanation for the observed facts comes along…

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