Powers of 10

Just how insignificant is the planet Earth? Just how big is the concept, “to the power of 10”? This site, based on a really neat 1968 documentary (which you can watch there), puts orders of magnitude into perspective. It starts a mere 10 million light years away from Earth, where the Milky Way galaxy is just visible as a spiral, and zooms you in — one power of 10 at a time, every 10 seconds — to the quark level, and tells you what you’re looking at each step of the way. Awesome, in any sense of the word. In 1998, the “Powers of Ten” film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

(Originally Published 21 December 2003)

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