Tag Archives: lightyears

Experience the Scale of the Universe with all senses – or finding God

Experience the Scale of the Universe with all senses – or finding God
The Scale of the Universe: Full Micro

Microscale of the Universe

The Scale of the Universe: Macro

Macroscale of the Universe

(…especially the ones they say we haven’t got)

Some years ago I posted an old movie clip «The Power of Ten». If you haven’t seen this, I suggest to do that – it takes some minutes and will leave you astonished for some days. It starts showing a square meter, then zooms out to the edge of the universe, goes back and zooms in to the quarks.

This small Flash-App «Scale of the Universe» is something similar, based on actual science data. The design looks a bit like a Power Point presentation – but hey, this is about science, not art. 🙂

Just thinking about that light would need seven times longer to cross the estimated size of the universe (93 billion lightyears) at light speed than it is old (13.4 billion yars that is) – makes me … aware. Astonished.

They say human minds cannot apprehend such dimensions. I’m not sure. Start thinking about the last year of your life, how much time it was; about 10 years of you like; your whole lifetime; how many of your ancestors lived  in the last 1’000 years?; the technical progress in the last 10’000 years; 50’000 years ago modern humans started colonizing the continents; anatomically modern humans appearing in Africa 200’000 years ago – how many descendants will you have in the year 202’012? Visualize your whole lifetime; 1’500’000 years ago were the first simple huts; 2’400’000 years ago appearance of the homo genus – imagine the winters: no food and it’s damn cold – they needed to wait for about 2’394’500 years for sewerage; modern-type butterflies appeared 40 mio years ago. Take your time, repeat, imagine the years.

Now watch the clip «650 million years in 120 seconds», it’s about plate tectonics and starts 400 mio years ago. Try to watch your place on earth while you think about the points above. If you do it right, your mind starts to screw – so switch it of. But let your brain whirl, while dimensions clear away. You need to bear and hold that whirling to go on. Take your time, repeat.

Life on Earth Graph

Life on Earth Graph

Now think of the globe, how she is born, how mother sun gets her most intelligent child. It’s 9 billion years after Big Bang – 4.5 billion years later the mid-aged earth will have the humans, an itching pest (see the joke). You are something like a gut bacteria that goes cancering its host. Not more, but not less. Life exists today since 3’800’000’000 years. Will your descendants be able to colonize a new planet when our sun becomes a supernova in 6 billion years? How many lover’s griefs will have been till then? How many agony over all, if you will pile it up then, for all civilisations? And on all planets in all galaxies? And, why? Take your time, repeat.

From today, go back three earth lifetimes to the big bang. Imagine the bang. Room gets created, a bubble. The physical laws get created. Matter gets created. The bubble expands. It accelerates its expansion. Today, you need to travel 20 times the age of earth at light speed to cross the estimated size of the universe. Do some travelling through space, try to find the milkyway, the sun, while staying aware of the whole. Do some travelling through time, watch the birth and evolution of all life on earth, while staying aware of your lifetime! That’s what I call a cool makro-meditation!


Did you arrive without going schizo? Did you find God? Where is she? Not so much out there I guess, but more in there. Science is about what it is, mysticism about how it feels. Macro- and microcosmos is not the same, but feels like the same. Science and mysticism are like your hands: They are the same, but are not. I’m sure we all can apprehend such dimensions, and many more. Just keep on practicing! Master the quanta. Let me know of your mikro-meditation, that’s not my favorite terrain. 😉


The Power of Ten

The Power of Ten

Power of TenToday was a beautiful day and I was out by the river the first time this year with my Lapsteel playing. Looking at the water, this old movie «Power of ten» (YouTube video, 9 min.) from 1977 came to my mind. Read the details on wikipedia.

Well, this is now 30 years old, so I did some googling and found some more interesting, newer things. First, there’s a newer version of something similar: the Cosmic Voyage (YouTube, 4 min.) from 1996. This is unfortunately only the part of the journey similar to the former Power of Ten, I couldn’t find the whole movie, which is also described on Wikipedia.

Here’s also a slideshow-version from this idea to show the cosmos. I found even a version from the famous Simpsons animation series 🙂 .

There’s also a very interesting dissertation from astrophysicist Mike Norman on Google video (56 min). He takes you on an unprecedented journey across space and time to witness the formation of galaxies and cosmic structure as well as the formation of one of the first stars to shine in the universe.

His dissertation features also this by far the best animated virtual journey (YouTube, ca. 4 min.), calculated with accurate data from the actual cosmic science. So it’s up to date with data and computer rendering technique. Here are some screenshots (click for bigger versions, threy’re the best resolution I could get):

Orion and Horsehead NebulaThe journey will start at our solar system and the first impressing step is the Orion Nebula (right), 1000 light-years away, with the Horsehead Nebula (middle) in the background.

Our MilkywayWe then turn around to see a fictive picture of our own home galaxy, the Milkyway. Fictive because we still cannot shoot a picture of our galaxy… 😉 .

M-33 and the Andromeda galaxyThen we will pass through the galaxy M-33 (right) towards the giant Andromeda galaxy with the blue outskirts (top left). In the middle another star forming Nebula in M-33, like the Orion Nebula, but much larger. We’re about 1 million light-years away from home.

Virgo ClusterWhat looks like a couple of stars is actually the Virgo Cluster, about 28 mio light-years away, our local cluster of galaxies. Each white dot is a whole galaxy and the destination of this animated journey.

So, finally, if you look at the sky next time, try to imagine the 28 million light-years distance to our nearest galaxy cluster, which is only one of all them out there…