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 covered the exhibit elements, one at a time, over the past few months. I started small and worked my way up. This is the penultimate one.
3C 273 as captured by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. Image courtesy of NASA, M. Clampin (STScI), H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory), J. Krist (STScI), D. Ardila (JHU), D. Golimowski (JHU), the ACS Science Team, J. Bahcall (IAS), and ESA.
1 Billion Light-years
2.5 Billion Light-years
The scale is so big now we don’t even bother with names anymore. 3C 273 is a quasar located in the constellation Virgo and is nearly 2.5 billion light-years from Earth. It is the brightest quasar in our sky, which might explain why it was the first quasar ever to be identified.
Described as an active galactic nucleus, a quasar is a compact region with a higher than normal luminosity residing in the center of a massive galaxy and surrounding a central supermassive black hole. It is formed when the gravitational force of that black hole gathers a huge amount of mass into an enormous object.
As a young child growing up, Qasar was an electronics brand by Motorola. I had no idea it really meant something that was so big. The scale of this thing is one-tenth the size of the known universe, so we could only arrange 10 of these end to end. Unlike in Spinal Tap, we could not go to 11.
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
- 1021 The Milky Way
- 1022 IC 1101
- 1023 Local Group of Galaxies
- 1024 The Local Supercluster
A future blog post will cover:
- 1026 Outer Limit of the Universe
Measurement is alive in the lab.