March 30, 2007 5:02 AM   Subscribe

The universe [flash]. I know, it's on a corporate site, and you have to sit through some pretentious Japanglish while it loads, but being able to use your mousewheel to scroll from femtometers up to the 100 billion lightyear scale is dazzling. I love cosmic zooms. Remember to pray that there's intelligent life in space, because there's bugger-all down here on Earth, except for folks like Metafilter's own kokogiak, who shows us everything in the solar system bigger than 200 miles in diameter.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken (29 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds really really awesome, but not only did it not work and not only did it kill Firefox (2, with Flash 9), it actually brought down my whole OS. Linux, no less.
posted by DU at 5:11 AM on March 30, 2007

Stav, this is awesome. Corporate site or no, it's really really cool. I learned stuff even just about the planets, by seeing them in this way. I do wish there were a few more items in here, like planets outside of the solar system.
posted by OmieWise at 5:20 AM on March 30, 2007

Very cool, thanks.
posted by zardoz at 5:30 AM on March 30, 2007

Not just ANY corporate site, stavros; freakin' NIKON!! (Proud D70 owner; employed in the sub-mircon realm.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:31 AM on March 30, 2007

Some of the scales look funny. How do you fit all those chromosomes into a sperm cell for example?
posted by edd at 5:31 AM on March 30, 2007

posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:31 AM on March 30, 2007

some pretentious Japanglish

Pretentious it was, but I'm not sure it qualifies as Japanglish. Just slightly awkward usages, like they should've hired a better translator: nothing like the old glory days of real Japanglish, where you'd get that certain kind of brilliantly twisted, nutty and hilarious prose that would send you searching for your pen and notebook so you could copy it down. You just don't see so much of that anymore, which is a shame, actually...

Nice links, by the way! The Nikon site is cool. And I was glad the YouTube zoomout (with Hangul subtitles!) didn't start (for once!) in New York City, but rather in Venice. Lovely town!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:37 AM on March 30, 2007

Hey DU, I'm on Linux with Flash 9; no problems here. Awesome site too.
posted by the dief at 6:09 AM on March 30, 2007

Good news: No crash
Bad news: Endlessly "transferring data"
posted by DU at 6:15 AM on March 30, 2007

Note also (from kokogiak's infographic) that Quoaor, at 1260km diameter, may actually be the home of Metafilter's own quonsar, thus completing the Circle of Life.

it actually brought down my whole OS. Linux, no less.

Thus showing the power of the universe to totally blow your mind!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:19 AM on March 30, 2007

The IMAX film Cosmic Voyage had a great zoom where you went from outside the Milky Way all the way into the nucleus of an atom. Great zoomy fun for all, but unless you have the 8-story home-theater set-up I'd skip the rental.

And on a somewhat-related topic: Starship Dimensions shows the relative sizes of all your favorite sci-fi ships and vehicles. Someone here is bound to find it interesting.
posted by sambosambo at 6:30 AM on March 30, 2007

Wonderful stuff—thanks, stav! (I just wish the people who made those Cosmic Zooms didn't feel compelled to add the music, whether New Age or SF Triumphalist; isn't the universe impressive enough by itself?)
posted by languagehat at 6:35 AM on March 30, 2007

My thanks to Piers Anthony for starting my fascination with the moons of our solar system, to kokoglak for keeping it going and now stavros for reminding me when I forget.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:42 AM on March 30, 2007

Really enjoyed that. The gap between Mt. Everest and Pluto was perhaps the most helpful way to get space into some perspective. And then, how sad to reach the 'outer limits of the universe' and not be able to keep going. One day, I suppose. Thanks!
posted by Miko at 7:15 AM on March 30, 2007

I'm in awe.
posted by flippant at 7:40 AM on March 30, 2007

mouse... wheel? next you'll be telling me you've got buttons on that thing.
posted by nanojath at 7:56 AM on March 30, 2007

They understated the size of the whole universe too.
posted by edd at 8:01 AM on March 30, 2007

Pretty cool. I wish you could toggle then text box on/off, because that showing up all the time is annoying. Very slick, otherwise.

Thanks for that Python bit, too. I was looking for that one in particular not three days ago, but got distracted by all the other Monty Python clips and never got around to viewing it.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:24 AM on March 30, 2007

Thanks. Excellent.
posted by peacay at 8:39 AM on March 30, 2007

Pretty damn awesome breakdown, save the random quote from some guy named A. Asimov. Who?
posted by carsonb at 8:54 AM on March 30, 2007

Way cool, thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 9:20 AM on March 30, 2007

They understated the size of the whole universe too.

Huh? The limits of the observable universe are right around 13.7 billion light years. Beyond that, and no one knows; representing the universe at scales larger than that is, at best, pure guesswork.

Also, the "I love" Youtube link misrepresents M83 as the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way looks nothing like M83 (well, except for both of them being spiral galaxies); the Milky Way has many prominent arms, while M83 has just two main arms. But I guess the video was made before the recent excellent artist's impression of the Milky Way was created by NASA.
posted by jiawen at 9:44 AM on March 30, 2007

Cool stuff, though, anyway.
posted by jiawen at 9:44 AM on March 30, 2007

The weird entity next to "Universe", that sorta looks like an upside down mickey mouse head? It has no name, and when you click on it, it just hangs, forever calculating its size....

I'd like to give kudos to Nikon for including God on their representative scale, as a being within the limits of the universe, but incalcuable and inconceivable, leading only to confusion when you try to access it; the user never really sure if it is beyond our understanding, or just a human machination, done so in error...

Pretty fucking bold on their part I must say.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:35 AM on March 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is bangin', stavros. Thanks.
posted by Mister_A at 2:32 PM on March 30, 2007

So what you're saying, Uther Bentrazor, is that God is an upside down Mickey Mouse head? Speaking of product placement; wonder how much that one cost Disney?
posted by ZakDaddy at 7:50 PM on March 30, 2007

Interesting, but no matter how far away you can get from that hula-hoop dancing exhibition at the beginning of the "cosmic zooms" video...it's not far enough.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:22 AM on March 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Awesome post, stavros. Of course, I will read any post with kokogiak links ;-)
posted by madamjujujive at 10:14 AM on April 1, 2007

The limits of the observable universe are right around 13.7 billion light years.

No. Light travel time != distance. The universe is expanding. That first light year of the 13.7 billion is now considerably bigger.
posted by edd at 3:42 PM on April 1, 2007

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