In comparison to the known cosmos, we humans — and the planet we inhabit — are tiny. Like, miniscule. It is for this reason we marvel at the vastness of the universe and all that has yet to be explored.
For those who are enamored by this shared physical reality, you may find delight in the following illustrated logarithmic scale conception of what the observable Universe looks like — complete with the solar system at its center.
Science Alert reports, “Encircling the Solar System are the inner and outer planets, Kuiper belt, Oort cloud, Alpha Centauri star, Perseus Arm, Milky Way galaxy, Andromeda galaxy, other nearby galaxies, the cosmic web, cosmic microwave radiation, and invisible plasma produced by the Big Bang at the very edges.”
The mind-blowing illustration was created by musician and artist Pablo Carlos Budassi. The image is based on logarithmic maps of the known Universe put together by researchers with Princeton University, and some materials produced by NASA.
The Princeton researchers’ logarithmic map is based on data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. For over the past 15 years, it has been using a 2.5-meter wide-angle optical telescope at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico to map the Universe. It includes spectra for more than 3 million astronomical objects — an astounding development.
Though scientists can easily grasp logarithmic maps, the general public has trouble doing so. It is because of this that Pablo Carlos Budassi chose to make a more palatable version. Tech Insider reports that Budassi was inspired to turn the illustration into a giant circle when making hexaflexagons for his son’s birthday. Hexaflexagons are paper polygons with a large number of faces. Kids in middle school and grade school often make them to pass time.
“[W]hen I was drawing hexaflexagons for my son’s birthday souvenirs, I started drawing central views of the cosmos and the Solar System,” Budassi told Tech Insider. “That day the idea of a logarithmic view came, and in the next days I was able to [assemble] it with Photoshop using images from NASA and some textures created [on] my own.”
A full-sized version of the image by Budassi can be found here.
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Image Credit: Pablo Carlos Budassi