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The Scale of the Universe
October 6, 2010 3:16 AM   Subscribe

The Universe, with relative scales. Who knew there were earthworms 7m long? Or that drinking water involves Mickey Mouse heads?
posted by Happy Dave (32 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Neat. That made me feel very small and very big at almost the same time.

And out of idle curiosity, what are these 7m earthworms. Where are they found?
posted by Ahab at 3:34 AM on October 6, 2010


At the human level. I was curious enough to google 'em. Wikipedia cites Microchaetus rappi or the South African Giant Worm as being recorded up to 6.7m long.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:44 AM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nifty tool, and one that's difficult to make without using computers.

It's interesting to note that the orders of magnitude between neutrinos and the Planck length are empty. On the opposite end of the scale there is plenty to see for each order of magnitude.
posted by Harald74 at 3:52 AM on October 6, 2010


I never knew Uranus was pronouced 'Yer uh niss'.
posted by aeroboros at 4:01 AM on October 6, 2010


Your anus. Pronounced "urinous." Also known as the yellow snow planet. Pluto is often blamed, though Mickey denies letting him out unsupervised.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:05 AM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately pretty much everything below the proton scale and everything above the supercluster scale is somewhere between speculative and wrong.
posted by edd at 4:17 AM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly 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, listen..."
posted by autocol at 4:51 AM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank you again Happy Dave, that really is something to put in my pouch of wonders, especially since my (still idle) follow up led to Wormdigest.org, which appears to have everything I could ever want to know about worms of all sizes.
posted by Ahab at 4:56 AM on October 6, 2010


This is a neat way to show these concepts.
posted by carter at 5:04 AM on October 6, 2010


What I learned by reading the comments:

I don't understand. If the universe can't be larger than 14B LY, how is the estimated size of the entire universe 93B LY?

reply to comment

because the universe is expanding... From Earth we can only observe things from up to 14Bn Years ago although there could be space further than 14Bn lightyears away thanks to the big bang. I think.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:12 AM on October 6, 2010


Good. I needed some perspective.
posted by fuq at 5:18 AM on October 6, 2010


Similar: Cell size and scale

And just for the heck of it: Pup Ponders the Heat Death of the Universe
posted by gwint at 5:39 AM on October 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Obscure Reference: It's confused. The 14 billion light years is accurate if you measure distance in light travel time, which is one way to do it (cosmologists have a bunch of ways which vary quite dramatically). The most sensible way normally gives you about 40-odd billion light years to the same point - the same distance that light travelled in those years but with the expansion since then factored in. The 93 billion light year value is just wrong, probably a mistakenly doubled 40-odd value.
This wiki page gives more info on how it's a frequently misreported value.
posted by edd at 5:43 AM on October 6, 2010


I'm going to see how soon I can insert 'yoctometer' into a casual conversation today.
posted by MtDewd at 5:48 AM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the music from? I feel like I recognize it. (It's got a Maxis kinda flavour to it. SimCity?)
posted by bicyclefish at 6:10 AM on October 6, 2010


Neat, but still not as good as the original.
posted by googly at 6:52 AM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


googly: "Neat, but still not as good as the original ."

A friend of mine had a book version of the Powers of Ten video that showed all the 10-second intervals. I could have browsed it for hours. Thanks for the link!
posted by that's candlepin at 7:09 AM on October 6, 2010


I thought the longest earthworms were these ones in (obviously) Australia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Gippsland_earthworm
posted by vectr at 7:18 AM on October 6, 2010


I zoomed in and out really fast a few times.

My vomit is the size of an FM radio wavelength.
posted by orme at 7:20 AM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was shocked and dismayed when I discovered that everything in the Star Trek universe takes place in the Milky Way Galaxy. The Borg? The Ferengi? The Cardassians? They're all our neighbors. It would take thousands of years to even reach the nearby Andromeda Galaxy at maximum warp.

It's always amazing to zoom all the way out in something like this, and get a feel for the size of the universe. But it's sad to think that even in wildly optimistic science fiction, it's still out of humanity's grasp to see more than the tiniest corner of it. It's just too big.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:42 AM on October 6, 2010


You're welcome, that's candlepin! And I realize now that my comment may come off as excessively snarky. My point was not to denigrate the original post, but just to observe how incredibly awesome Powers of Ten (previously) still is, despite being forty years old and in an 'old' media.
posted by googly at 7:55 AM on October 6, 2010


It would take thousands of years to even reach the nearby Andromeda Galaxy at maximum warp.

Yeah, but that's what transwarp is for!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:12 AM on October 6, 2010


Post-TNG heresy.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:26 AM on October 6, 2010


What's the music from? I feel like I recognize it. (It's got a Maxis kinda flavour to it. SimCity?)

Good ear. The comments in the post say the music comes from Spore.
posted by elendil71 at 8:31 AM on October 6, 2010


I always liked this one too...It would be fun to navigate something with that much realism, but I personally don't have time to strap on a Maya dildo and fuck people's minds with it. Maybe someday.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:56 AM on October 6, 2010


"I think you do not appreciate what it is that space contains"

"What's that then?"

"Nothing. It contains nothing. And everything. But there is very little everything and more nothing than you could imagine."

posted by quin at 10:03 AM on October 6, 2010


If anyone was curious about the earthworm, do not for the love of god click here.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:11 AM on October 6, 2010


Also maybe some video
posted by shakespeherian at 10:15 AM on October 6, 2010


incredible.
posted by carpenter at 11:25 AM on October 6, 2010


This was originally posted to Newgrounds -- I'm not sure what relation the site in the FPP has to the author. If you check out the creator's site you can also see a "Wrong" version (all object sizes are randomized) and a "Swirly" version (it corkscrews as you zoom, and pressing the up arrow key will activate gravity and let you slide the objects up or let them fall). Also, the music is indeed from Spore -- it's the serene main theme by (I think) Brian Eno.

gwint: "And just for the heck of it: Pup Ponders the Heat Death of the Universe"

Cool! It reminds me of this Calvin and Hobbes story arc (eight strips altogether, not counting the unrelated Sunday strip halfway through).
posted by Rhaomi at 2:21 PM on October 6, 2010


There are details displayed narrower than Planck length. Is this intentional?
posted by Anything at 3:32 PM on October 6, 2010


When I hear stuff about the inflation and how yes, light can travel only at light speed, but the universe can change its size at any rate it wants, and light will keep on blithely going along, traveling at light speed through this billowing universe, but not falling behind because it is part of the universe too, it kind of makes sense!
posted by Mister_A at 6:53 PM on October 6, 2010


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