Trying to understand the relative size and structure of things within our universe can be really hard to do. No one has the financial resources or time to take people on a tour of the universe! So how can you figure it out?

Cosmic Zoom - Universe Viewer
Welcome to Cosmic Zoom! Cosmic Zoom is an idea based on the book entitled __Powers of Ten__ by Morrison and Morrison. Their friend Charles Eames was an architect who was fascinated by large numbers and how to visualize them. Along with his wife Ray, Charles directed a film with the same title. Others who contributed to this idea include Philip and Phylis Morrison and Kees Boeke.

This visual representation is to help give you an idea of the size and scale of the universe. Each image is 10 times bigger or smaller than the one that comes before it or after it. The numbers are written using exponential notation. This is a convenient way scientists use to write very large or very small numbers. For example, how do you know what an exponential number really means? Let’s show you briefly how to figure it out.

- 10
^{0} is 1 meter, because any number with an exponent of 0 is 1.
- 10
^{1} is 10 meters, because any number with an exponent of 1 is that number.
- 10
^{2} is really 10 x 10 meters, or 100 meters.
- 10
^{3} is really 10 x 10 x 10, or 1,000 meters.

This may seem simple, but what about when you get into numbers like 10^{10}?
That’s really:

10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 = 10,000,000,000 (10 billion) meters.

No wonder scientists use a shorthand way of writing things!
So let’s look at Cosmic Zoom! Click on the picture above, each frame includes a brief description of what the image shows. Hopefully, you will gain an appreciation for just how small we are on our little planet in our little galaxy in this big universe!