3 for Thursday: 3 Mind-Blowing Examples of Scale

Sun-eruptionHumans seem generally capable of grasping scale relative to experience. The four-year old might think of a forty-year old as ancient, but by the time one is forty, the differences might not be as shocking. The difference between a penny and a dollar are familiar, but make a leap between a penny and the budget of the U.S. government and it becomes surreal. Below are three examples of scale that are mind-blowing and if they leave your head spinning that’s because they should.

1) A bacterium on a diatom on an amphipod

From the blog Infinity Imagined is this little gem of a bacterium on a diatom on an amphipod. Amphipoda range in size from 1 to 340 millimetres (0.039 to 13 in), according to Wikipedia. Diatoms generally range in size from 2-200μm (micrometers), and bacterium range from 0.5–5.0 micrometers. There are 25,400 micrometers in an inch.

Micro-Universe

 

2) When humans aren’t even the size of bacterium

The largest known star in the universe is VY Canis Majoris (see the video below), which is 2,000 times the size of our sun in diameter. The sun is about 100 times the size of the Earth. If you’re still not getting how big this is, then keep in mind that 1,000,000 Earths can fit inside the sun.

3) When it takes 32,000 years to spend a trillion dollars.

Most of us might be amazed at how fast we can blow through our paychecks in just two weeks. But can we imagine spending money on a scale of a trillion dollars?

Want to see other extreme examples of scale, check this out.

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