Thursday, May 24, 2012

Magnifying the Universe

big universe poster
Big universe poster

“The biggest animal is the blue whale.” Every kindergarten student proudly stores away this nugget of trivia, ready to pull it out at just the right moment so Grandma and Grandpa will ooh and ah and buy the precocious little cherub an ice cream cone.
However, you aren’t in Kindergarten any more, and you know that the blue whale doesn’t quite make the top of the All Things Gargantuan list. In fact it barely makes the list at all. But how does the blue whale compare to, say, a crab nebula or to the Triangulum Galaxy? This poster will put into perspective all things size-related, from the hydrogen atom up to the observable universe.
Relative size matters. If the blue whale were really all that big, he’d be sporting a milk mustache from his laps across the Milky Way. Thinking to look at relative sizes reveals facts we might not otherwise consider. For example, the cost of gas today would be $13.50 per gallon if its cost had kept up with the cost of health care. It might also earn you another ice cream from Grandpa.