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"...very little everything and more nothing than you could imagine."
January 19, 2012 8:29 AM   Subscribe

The size of the known universe - A six and a half minute video which provides a view of the scale of the universe.
posted by quin (34 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
soundtrack should be Ilya Bryzgalov pondering the universe
posted by nathancaswell at 8:36 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Related FPP
posted by 3FLryan at 8:36 AM on January 19, 2012


Absolutely breathtaking. Thank you.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:40 AM on January 19, 2012


Pale blue dot indeed.
posted by Quack at 8:41 AM on January 19, 2012


WE'RE ALL ALONE. NO ONE CARES. *faints*
posted by Summer at 8:55 AM on January 19, 2012


"No mind of man, no philosopher, no God could describe the beauty of the universe."
--my astronomy professor ca. 1986. I wrote that down on my first day in class and have never forgotten it. I do not remember his name, but I remember his words. It is quite possible he did not invent them.
posted by elendil71 at 9:00 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Previously
posted by DU at 9:02 AM on January 19, 2012


Cool! Thanks for this.

WE'RE ALL ALONE. NO ONE CARES. *faints*

Don't worry: If you move the other way down the scale ladder we're all huge! And all smooshed together! And we care sooooo much it's kind of ridiculous!
posted by saulgoodman at 9:02 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's one of the more interesting bits.... if you go the other direction, the smallest bits are surprisingly close to being as much smaller than we are as the observable Universe is to being larger. IIRC, the ratio of a quark:you is about the same as you:Virgo Supercluster. There's only two or three more orders of magnitude in the 'big' direction.
posted by Malor at 9:09 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm a lonely insignificant speck on a has-been planet orbited by a cold and distant sun!

Seriously though, I love stuff like this. Thanks.
posted by King Bee at 9:12 AM on January 19, 2012


I saw this video for the first time at the Rubin Museum over a year ago (it was especially great on the full-size screen), and I can't tell you how many times since I've tried and failed to adequately describe it. Thank you, quin.
posted by argonauta at 9:16 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


When you are put into the Total perspective Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little mark, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, "You are here."
posted by zombieflanders at 9:25 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


What amazes me is not the distance but the fact that we're peering back in time. All the new stuff is happening in the universe and we're stuck watching a rerun channel.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:30 AM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


What amazes me is not the distance but the fact that we're peering back in time. All the new stuff is happening in the universe and we're stuck watching a rerun channel.

You think that's bad? From our study of human neurology, it turns out there's a hardware delay of some fractional number of milliseconds or so between our sense-impressions of events and the events themselves. There are physical limits to how quickly we can process sense information. So even when we're just seeing things in our immediate surroundings for the very first time--even when it comes to the things we say and do ourselves--we're actually looking a tiny little bit into the past already.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:44 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is great, but how does it look more fakey (that is, more CGI) than Powers of Ten?
posted by Casuistry at 9:47 AM on January 19, 2012


This video was the subject of a previous post:

http://www.metafilter.com/87626/The-Known-Universe

Regardless, it's a great video, it's replaced Powers of Ten in my classes.
posted by janewman at 9:59 AM on January 19, 2012


"And back to our home." Strangely moving words, especially when the image at the moment is just the entire Milky Way.

Put in this perspective, it seems even odder we haven't yet physically journeyed to even another planet. Mars doesn't seem that far after all.

I saw an article the other day speculating on how artificial light is disconnecting us from being tied to the night sky and our sense of our place in the universe. (In the same way I often think how relatively quickly urban/ suburban living has separated us from the natural world around us.)

But what about the opposite - how our technology has given us a new POV from off-earth looking back: That first glimpse of marble-sized Earth from the moon, or satellite photography from the solar system's edge, or the ability to create models like this.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:59 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel so insignificant, actually, just more insignificant than I did before I watched the video.
posted by amil at 10:02 AM on January 19, 2012


"And back to our home."

All I'm saying is, after a voyage to the edge of our cosmic horizon in space and time, this damned ride dropped me off in the Himalayas. And that's NOWHERE NEAR MY HOME. What am I supposed to do now? Thanks a lot!
posted by bicyclefish at 10:11 AM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


When in doubt, throw out this quote:

Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
posted by fijiwriter at 10:15 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Regardless, it's a great video, it's replaced Powers of Ten in my classes.

This one goes to 11.

- Nigel
posted by hal9k at 10:55 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]



Imagine Copernicus being brought back to life now and viewing this.
My dad for that matter.
posted by notreally at 11:35 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


You think that's bad? From our study of human neurology, it turns out there's a hardware delay of some fractional number of milliseconds or so between our sense-impressions of events and the events themselves. There are physical limits to how quickly we can process sense information. So even when we're just seeing things in our immediate surroundings for the very first time--even when it comes to the things we say and do ourselves--we're actually looking a tiny little bit into the past already.

Not to mention the tiny-but-disturbing fact that it takes a non-zero amount of time for light to travel any given distance, so anything we see is technically "in the past", let alone the things we see in the sky.
posted by 3FLryan at 12:14 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It kind of hits home in a strange way to realize even the things I see right before me are not in my exact "time", whatever THAT is.
posted by 3FLryan at 12:16 PM on January 19, 2012


I admit to liking how it went from 'Tibet' to 'Earth', ignoring China, e.g.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:25 PM on January 19, 2012


Dude, the sun could explode RIGHT NOW and we wouldn't know it for 8 1/2 minutes.

Make'em count people!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:54 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


WE'RE ALL ALONE. NO ONE CARES.

They Might Be Giants have a surprisingly poignant song about this, about the story of a germ that went to the moon and came back.
posted by straight at 1:19 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rad.
posted by RockyChrysler at 6:00 PM on January 19, 2012


I read a science fiction short story many years ago. It was about some microscopic water beings that built a supermarine - a craft for leaving the water and exploring the dry space above the water. As I recall, they were unprepared for the sunlight and everyone in the craft perished.

When I needed a boost to feel like life is worth living, I look at the stars and am struck by two things. First, what an inane and pointless insignificance our individual existences are; second, what an incredible privilege it is to have this momentary flicker of consciousness in this astonishing universe.

I just don't know how any of this can be real. One of us is going to wake up and it will all be gone.
posted by Xoebe at 6:32 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just don't know how any of this can be real.

I remember reading a comment a while back concluding that there's a high probability the universe we live in is a simulation, assuming that you only need one highly advanced civilization to evolve who would then go on to create a vast number of computer-simulated universes. I suppose it's just as likely we live in one of a vast number of real universes, but whatever, let's say we live in a simulation. That means the real universe containing the simulation might be even more astonishing and beautiful, and what we live in is just a simplified approximation of something more richly complex and awesome!

Oh yeah I just crapped on your entire existence!!!!!!
posted by palidor at 6:45 PM on January 19, 2012


I need a little warning next time, please. I watched this video, and by the end of it, I found that 7000 years had passed, and everyone I knew had died, and everything I knew had changed drastically.

Now if someone will please transport me back to Assyria, I have an irrigation project I was working on, thanks.
posted by not_on_display at 10:03 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Summer: "WE'RE ALL ALONE. NO ONE CARES. *faints*"

Well, I don't think this will make you feel any better, but I care. Also, I don't think we're alone, just effectively alone. Anyway, humans feel alone on a whole planet full of other humans? Will meeting aliens somehow make us feel less alone?
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 1:32 PM on January 20, 2012


I can't believe mefites fall for this crap. It's FAKE!
posted by Goofyy at 9:53 PM on January 20, 2012


And by 'FAKE', I mean it's a fabulous video, obviously.
posted by Goofyy at 9:53 PM on January 20, 2012


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