Big and small

 Here’s a great interactive website by Cary Huang to give you an idea of how big and small things are. Thanks to Greta Dromgool for pointing me towards it.

It covers a whopping 60 orders of magntiude in length – from ten to the power of minus thirty five (the Planck Length) through to 10 to the power of twenty six metres – the size of the universe. Admittedly, there’s a great lot of nothing in the ten orders of magnitude between the neutrino ‘size’ and the Planck length, so one might more reasonably say there’s only 50 orders of magnitude covered.

This shows a couple of interesting (but not necessary greatly meaningful) points.

1. That we ‘live’ in the middle of this range, at about ten to the power zero metres.  (10^0 = 1). Things we experience are broadly on the metre scale. We see things that are millimetres in size, and experience kilometre distances as we travel, which is a range of merely six orders of magnitude, right in the middle of what exists. 

2. That most of what we have in the universe is physics. Yay!   Anything you ‘see’ about ten to the power six metres or larger can broadly be called astronomy / astrophysics. And anything you ‘see’ about ten to the minus ten metres or smaller is also physics. Physics covers the extremes. But it also features in the middle ground – don’t get the idea that this is exclusively the realm of chemistry and biology. 

So, enjoy. Don’t confine yourself just to scrolling, you can click on each object (and there are a lot) for further information.  I warn you, though,  the music gets a bit bugging after a while.

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