Monday, June 2, 2014

The Universe in Numbers

This week, we take a quick but interesting look at the Universe.

First, is a short video looking at the universe and its numbers found at

Next, is A Brief History of the Universe: 

Below is a history of the universe  written by Karl Tate I found at  I am presenting an abridged version here (both in terms of image and text).   For the full, detailed version please go to for a beautifully presented story of the history and structure of universe - as told in image and text. Here are some of the images and summaries, but you'll want to read the text as well.

Illustration: Karl Tate, based on a photo of Galaxy M74 (NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage Collaboration) and the engraving "Awakening of the Pilgrim" from "The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology" by Camille Flammarion, 1888. Image found at

Our fascination and initial study of the universe began with careful observation about 2,300 years ago.  Approximately 1,900 years later, when Galileo Galilei invented the astronomical telescope we were able to more precisely observe and note the planets and stars, and the science of the universe began.

Credit: Hubble Space Telescope Science Institut. Image found at
Above is a visual timeline of the history of the universe.

Credit: Karl Tate,; Galileo Galilei: portrait by Ottavio Leoni. Image found at
Initially, we thought the entire universe consisted of the elements visible to the naked eye. With the aid of the telescope, Uranus was added to our known universe in 1781, and Neptune in 1846.
Credit: Diagram of local stars: Karl Tate, based on public domain data plot; Friedrich Bessel portrait: Christian Albrecht Jensen. Found at

As telescopes advanced in form and technology, so did our concept and understanding of the universe advanced as well. In the nineteenth century, scientists figured out how to measure the distances to the stars. German mathematician and astronomer Friedrich Bessel was among them.

Credit: Milky Way Galaxy map: Robert Hurt; Fritz Zwicky photo via University of Virginia Dept. of Astronomy Found at

Today we know that our solar system is a tine part of our Milky Way galaxy, and that the galaxy is held together by what scientists call "dark matter."

Credit: Diagram: Karl Tate based on NASA illustration; Brent Tully photo via Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii Found at

Towards the latter half of the twentieth century, astronomers speculated that there ours was just one of a cluster of galaxies. n 1982 astronomer R. Brent Tully published an analysis of the distances to the supercluster member galaxies.

Credit: Simulation of observable universe: Karl Tate,; Alan Guth photo via Brookhaven National Laboratory. Found at
Today we know that the observable universe is a sphere 93 billion light years in diameter, centered on Earth, although the true extent of the universe is currently beyond our comprehension.

Finally, Magnifying the Universe:

I tried, but could not imbed an  awesome (albeit dizzying ) and humbling experience to help us more fully comprehend the vastness, beauty, and size of the universe. It illustrates he scale of over 100 items within the observable universe ranging from galaxies to insects, nebulae and stars to molecules and atoms

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you go to  please go to:Magnifying the Universe produced for Number Sleuth by Science is Beautiful in coordination with Mandril Design and Killer Infographics. at

I am just sorry I couldn't post it here myself. Numbersleuth, does, however, have a non-interactive infographic that I will leave in closing.

The Universe

That's it for this week.
Thanks, as always for your visit, and please leave your reactions and thoughts in the comments below.


  1. What an amazing world we live on and what an amazing part of the Universe we are.....
    The numbers are staggering.
    I really can't wrap my brain around it all.

  2. What a mammoth UNDERTAKING to give us a "brief" history! Great post.

    abcw team

  3. BRING BACK PLUTO! Sorry...


  4. Our Universe is indeed a strange place and Humans and Earth being the strangest of places to find the most weird of beings

    PhenoMenon, ABCW Team