The Scale Size of the Universe
"What's with the empty, black box above, Mr. Frank?"
It's not empty. To the left is Earth, and would believe
that the tiny, little dot far off to the right is the Moon?
The Moon, our absolute nearest cosmic neighbor!
Would you have guessed it was that far away?
Do you realize how far that really is?
It's far enough away you could fit
more than 30 additional Earth's in between them!
If you're feeling extra brave, you could fit
every planet in our Solar System between the Earth and Moon,
and still have room left over!
And that's just our nearest neighbor. Can you even fathom
how far away other planets, not to mention stars and galaxies are?
"How Big Is the Universe?"
If you have an hour to kill, I challenge
you to (patiently) explore this...
Tediously Accurate Scale
Model of the Solar System
...scaled to if the Moon was only 1 pixel large.
But I warn you, don't blink or else you'll miss the planets!
Here's another scale model to give you an idea of the dimensions involved, similar to the Tediously Accurate To-Scale 1-Pixel Moon Model linked above. It is appropriately named...
But that one explores to the outer edges of our Solar System. What if I want to explore further and reach deeper into our Galaxy? Try the...
Stars Chrome Experiment
(on Google Chrome only)
Check out the following, fantastic website:
Use the Interactive Sliding Scale to explore our Universe, both micro and macro, and complete the sheet handed out in class.
Here are some additional resources to help you answer questions from that WebQuest/eLab sheet:
Cruinthe: Earth's "Other" Moon
The "Second Moon" You Didn't Know Earth Had!
Earth's Second Moon Target of Proposed Mission
Check out the TED-Ed video below (no login or questions required) that explains how we can figure out all these far-off distances in the first place! (Then go back to the Chrome Stars Experiment and explore the Temperature Color Index.)
If you're really feeling fancy, there's a SciShow video on the same topic that goes a little more in-depth. It's more advanced, so be sure to put your thinking cap on!
The Scale of the Universe Interactive (linked at the left)
is based on this famous film from 1977. It was the first of its kind, and inspired lots of imitators, but this is the original!
When you've finished exploring the Scale of the Universe interactive, switch to the Scale Model of the Solar System (tab near the top-left of the webpage). There's an incredible video shot in the desert that really helps you visualize all the empty "space" out there in, well, Space. Watch that video, then come back to see below that, of course, the master did it first...
Lastly, that Trigonometric Parallax thing they were talking about in the video to the left? That's what Mr. Franklin did his Science Fair Project on in High School! ^_^ Speaking of Science Fair, you're working on yours, right?!?! (Data is due next Friday!)
To help inspire you, I though I'd give you one more TED video, but this one featuring a teenage Science student just like you. This guy won the Intel International Science Fair, and it just so happens that the message he wanted to deliver to the world is WHY we should be studying and learning all about Space: