The universe is huge. That’s an understatement to be sure, but there may not be a word for just how big everything really is. It’s literally unimaginable. So how do you take all that enormity and condense it down into just one image? Use math.
Musician Pablo Carlos Budassi used logarithms to depict the vast cosmos in the below chart. Logarithms work by effectively reversing the process of raising a number exponentially; i.e., whereas 10 to the power of three is 1,000, the logarithm of 1,000 using a base of 10 equals three. A logarithmic map, then, could show enormous distances in a reasonably sized chart. That’s exactly what Budassi did with the universe.
Artist’s logarithmic scale conception of the observable universe with the Solar System at the center, inner and outer planets, Kuiper belt, Oort cloud, Alpha Centauri, Perseus Arm, Milky Way galaxy, Andromeda galaxy, nearby galaxies, Cosmic Web, Cosmic microwave radiation and Big Bang’s invisible plasma on the edge. [Click to enlarge.]
Inspired by Princeton’s very interesting (albeit bland) logarithmic maps of the universe, Budassi made the above image using logarithmic distances and images from NASA’s archives. Because every successive “ring” of the image is 10 times farther away from the Sun than the previous ring, the image expands outward exponentially from our home star to edge of the universe. All of reality in one beautiful picture.
Best of all, Budassi released the image into the public domain, meaning that you’ll have no excuse not to update your wallpaper. C’mon, this picture actually is everything.
IMAGES: Pablo Carlos Budassi