A Million Points

13 12 2009

A million is a very big number.  I tend to forget that when I think about how a highway or a building can cost several million dollars.  Or the population of a region can be in the millions.  Or that light can travel a million miles in just six seconds.  But this… this is what a million looks like.

So this image may not look like much, but click on it.  I’ll wait.

Now that you’ve seen it, I’m going to give you the chance to *really* see it.  This is an image taken by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) of the region around the center of our Milky Way galaxy in the direction of Sagittarius.  It was taken by a new camera they have called VISTA — the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy.  Weird acronym, huh?  Here’s a picture of the camera.

Yeah, that’s a worker standing there next to it.  I’m betting we’re going to see a LOT of great stuff coming out of this thing in the years to come.

In the meantime, I promised you a better look at those stars…

Go here.  Find the area you want to zoom on.  Click the little icon at the bottom right to make it full screen.  Keep zooming.  Wipe drool from mouth.

Hope you have superbroadband!

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2 responses

14 12 2009
147horsepower

Oh man. That’s amazing!
I did that same thing to put the size of of a flock of passenger pigeons into perspective. They could be a million strong. Imagine a flock of birds blocking out the sun as it flies over for 3 hours!
Audubon: “The feces fell like snowflakes”
yeah… a million is a lot.

14 12 2009
Infinitewell

I actually thought about throwing in the Passenger Pigeon flock count into my post, but since I don’t really have an idea of what that would look like, I didn’t.

What you just said has gotten me to thinking. And I think what I want to say needs a separate post…

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