NPR logo The Universe We Know: A Short Tour

The Universe We Know: A Short Tour

Moving from Ursula's thinking about the history of the Universe - which is a map in time - we now take a short tour of the Universe as a map in space.

This will be a few minutes of your time well spent. Below is a video put together by the good folks at the American Museum of Natural History, in collaboration with the Rubin Museum of Art.

Many of you may remember the Powers of 10 films by Charles and Ray Ames. This work echoes that exploration of scale except here real data is used throughout the animation. In particular the largest scale distributions of galaxies come directly the Sloan Digital Sky Survey which is why all one sees are "slices" of universe as the camera pulls out. That is far as we have gotten in mapping the entire sky at those scales.

Its worth noting that the sponsor of this project was the Rubin Museum in New York City. The Rubin is a wonderful institution which focuses on Tibetan Buddhist culture, (well worth a visit next time you are in town). They have always been quite interested in exploring the relation between the world views of Buddhism and science. A friend of mine who is a cloud physicist was once asked to give a talk on the physics of rainbows as a complement to a art history talk on the use of rainbows as metaphor for enlightenment in classical Tibetan art. Its a lovely example of those interested in religion also seeing the vision of science.

Bravo to the Rubin and the AMNH!