"Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Some of the breath fades with the light
I think about this loveless fascination
Under the milky way tonight"
— The Church
I work out of our office on One Market Street in San Francisco. My standup-desk is right across from our Gallery at One Market. One of our newer exhibits is called Powers of Design. It was first featured at the Technology Entertainment & Design (TED) conference last year. Powers of Design depicts the size of everything from the inconceivably small to the mind-blowingly large. I thought I'd cover the exhibit elements, one at a time, over a few months. I started small and am working my way up.
The Milky Way
Time for something you’ve actually heard of. The Milky Way is the galaxy containing our solar system, with Earth two-thirds of the way out from its center. Nearly 120,000 light-years in diameter and containing 200–400 billion stars, the galaxy probably contains at least as many planets, 10 billion of which could be in the habitable zone of their parent star.
If our solar system were the size of a quarter, the Milky Way would be equivalent to India. Being 13.2 billion years old (nearly as old as the universe), it’s safe to assume the candy bar was named after the galaxy and not vice versa.
Growing up, when someone said Milky Way, here's what came to mind.
I was only off by 23 orders of magnitude.
Thanks to Global Content Manager, Matt Tierney, for the images and text that comprise the exhibit element. This is just one of the many exhibits in the gallery at One Market in San Francisco. The gallery is open to the public on Wednesdays from 12 pm to 5 pm, and admission is free. Visit us.
Previous posts on this topic include:
- 10-15 Protons and Neutrons
- 10-14 Atomic Nucleus of a Uranium Atom
- 10-13 Nada, Zilch, Zero, Zip
- 10-12 Gamma Rays
- 10-11 Fluorine Ion
- 10-10 Wavelength of Hard X-Rays
- 10-9 Carbon Nanotubes
- 10-8 Molecular Transport Nano Robot
- 10-7 HIV Virus
- 10-6 Red Blood Cells
- 10-5 Sand
- 10-4 Microelectromechanical Systems
- 10-3 Sonata Silicium Watch Components
- 10-2 Lego
- 10-1 Prosthetic Fairing
- 100 Biome Concept Car
- 101 Ma'erkang Housing Reconstruction
- 102 Shanghai Tower
- 103 Bay Bridge
- 104 Masdar City
- 105 Palm Islands
- 106 The Moon
- 107 Earth
- 108 Jupiter
- 109 The Sun
- 1010 Distance Light Travels in 34 Seconds
- 1011 Distance from Jupiter to the Sun
- 1012 Distance from Pluto to the Sun
- 1013 Voyager 2
- 1014 The Solar System
- 1015 Cat's Eye Nebula
- 1016 Pillars of Creation
- 1017 Great Orion Nebula
- 1018 M15 Globular Cluster
- 1019 Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy
- 1020 Triangulum Galaxy
Future blog posts will cover:
- 1022 IC 1101
- 1023 Local Group of Galaxies
- 1024 The Local Supercluster
- 1025 3C 273
- 1026 Outer Limit of the Universe
Measurement is alive in the lab.