In the footsteps of the classic short film, we explore the powers of 10 (click to zoom).
We begin with a classic NASA photograph of the Earth seen from Saturn, with a field of view (in the distance) about 100,000,000 km across. We zoom in by a factor of 10 to see the Earth and the Moon beside it. After three more such jumps (to 10,000 km), the Earth fills the frame. Three further jumps (to 10 km) zooms in on Melbourne, Australia. Two more jumps show us the city centre (1 km) and St Paul’s Cathedral (100 m). Another two jumps (to 1 m) give us a small boy on the grass beside the Cathedral. Two more give us the iris and pupil of his eye (1 cm) and a small patch of his retina (1 mm). Finally (at 100 µm or 0.1 mm), we see red blood cells inside a blood vessel in his retina. Fifteen jumps in all, zooming in by 1015.
Some time ago I posted a very brief review of the classic Powers of Ten short film by Charles and Ray Eames. Now, the Cozmic Zoom app for Android and iOS (by Tokata) translates this idea to the mobile-app world.
Taking advantage of gesture-based interaction, and using a set of 70 images (some public-domain, and some constructed by the author), Cozmic Zoom appears to be an interesting educational resource, covering aspects of astronomy, biology, and physics. Here are some screenshots (or watch it run on Android or an iPad):
This short 1977 film by Charles and Ray Eames has become a classic, as has the 1957 Dutch book by Kees Boeke on which it was based. They have spawned numerous variations and adaptations, including a nice flip-book derived from the Eames film:
Short, sweet, and insightful, these little gems teach both important scientific facts and an appreciation of orders of magnitude.
Powers of Ten
: 5 stars