Friday, 18 December 2009

The scale of things

Just popping by because Brad posted an amazing video on his blog and I hope to share it with people who might not go to his blog too often. It's called The Known Universe and it was made by the American Museum of Natural History. The video is stunning, I hope you enjoy it.


Zuzana said...

Stunning. Thoroughly enjoyed this!
Puts our insignificance - or rather significance- into perspective.
Why are the areas we have mapped in a "hour-glass" shape?
Btw, have you heard about the discovery of a new planet that might harbor life. Was it about 40 light years away? Discovered by a hobby astronomer.;)
Have a lovey Saturday Tom,

Tom said...

Zuzana - the hour glass effect is due to our Galaxy. It's a disk which means that trying to observe the rest of the universe through the disk is next to impossible. On the other hand, if you observe outside the disk, i.e., looking up or down rather than through the plane of the Galaxy, you get a fairly clear view!

This would be easier with a diagram...


Keera Ann Fox said...

Absolutely stunning video! Finally one that clearly gave me an idea of scale. Especially going back home. If any aliens are visiting us, it must be purely by accident, because finding us is like finding a needle in a haystack. Or more like finding a partial needle in a 1000 haystacks. Thanks for posting this, Tom!

Tom said...

Keera - it's pretty spectacular, isn't it? And you're right, it shows how hard it is to find earth-sized planets. Still, we're getting there, super-earths (rocky planets a few times more massive than the earth) are now being detected around other stars and it won't be long before earth-sized planets are detected. We just can't get to them - too far away!