Sunday, May 31, 2015

Putting things in perspective - The Universe

I always wanted to post an article on here which included the images portraying the size of the common elements — common to man — that make up our known Universe. And here it is.

High res version here

We all know about the Earth, as seen above.

High res version here

That is the Solar System. As you can see in Red — the earth is shown while looking in. When we zoom out a bit, we then see...

High res version here

... the Solar Interstellar Neighborhood. So in red we can see 'Solar System', but it's not that clear exactly where that is. However, we know that the Sun — which is labeled above — is in our Solar System. So we then can work out that the Solar System is where the Sun is in that image above.

High res version here

If you click on the High res version link, you will be able to see a line drawm next to the red writing showing where that Solar Interstellar Neighborhood sits within the Milky Way Galaxy. (Which is of course our Galaxy)

High res version here.

Here we have the Local Galactic Group. This one is a bit easier to understand as the Milky Way Galaxy (in red) is directly to the left of the writing. So this image above is showing the known Galaxies in this group — each galaxy is given a name and the distance is shown based on the lines above at the top, and below at the bottom. On the right we can see the Andromeda Galaxy. It's rather large, isn't it?

High res version here.

Here it starts to get interesting as we see the Local Galactic Group. We can see in red writing whereabouts the Local Galactic Group is. Each dot is representing a galaxy. So the Milkway Galaxy is a dot around the location of the red writing. The Virgo Supercluster is just one of millions of Superclusters in the observable universe.

High res version here.


Here we have a whole bunch of these Superclusters. Each dot is a Supercluster. The Virgo Supercluster was the one we were just looking at above this image, and a line is drawn to a red dot pointing it out, next to the red writing. From being aware of just this picture, we can see that the Universe is a big place. But then we take a look at the Observable Universe below and realise once again that...

High res version here.

...there are many Superclusers — the universe is huge. If you bring up the higher resolution version above, you will see a line pointing directly to the Local Superclusters. The 'observable universe' consists of all these Superclusters as observed from Earth at the present time, based on our technological capabilities, but also based on how long it takes for light and signals to reach earth, coming from everything out there. Astronomers believe that there are at least ten million Superclusters that can be observed.


Returning back to Earth — here are the planets of our Solar System to scale. Jupiter and Saturn (top row(biggest ones)), Uranus and Neptune (top middle), Earth and Venus (bottom middle), Mars and Mercury (bottom row)

So, we may think an Ant is small, but so are us humans!


Images in this article originate from Wikipedia

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