It’s difficult enough to wrap our heads around just how big the earth is. But, putting the earth in a larger cosmological context is an even greater feat of humility.
This page is an homage to the cosmos itself as a means of context in our own life.
Believe it or not, your life is not the only one happening on this big rock. In fact, it is only one among many happening RIGHT NOW.
And when we consider how many other lives have happened on this planet already, it can give us a stronger sense of belonging; even a sense of ease around the existential challenges we face during life. And to think, the human species isn’t even the big story of our planet. We’ve only been around for the last .004 percent of the lifetime of the planet!
Powers of Ten
Here is the reality we all live in. This video shows the actual scale of the existence we are a part of. It can be easy to forget how big the universe is.
Another Powers of Ten
Another brilliant rendition, showing us the true scale of the earth, our lives, and everything we know.
A roundtable of astronauts discuss the psychological effect of seeing the planet from space: no borders, all one.
Animaniacs – Yakko’s Universe
Yakko sings a song about the relative vastness of space from one person to the entire universe.
“The internal engines of plate tectonics are indifferent to life.”
This video from the new Cosmos shows Earth’s timescale…way bigger than that of us humans.
The Cosmic Calendar
This “Cosmic Calendar” from Neil Degrasse Tyson’s new Cosmos shows the timescale of the universe depicted as one earth year. You will be astounded if you’ve never seen it before.
A classic must-see from Carl Sagan.
“That’s Here. That’s Home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, everyone who ever was, lived out their lives.”
The Standard Model: The Most Successful Scientific Theory Ever
It describes how everything in the universe is made of 12 different types of matter particles, interacting with three forces, all bound together by a rather special particle called the Higgs boson. It’s the pinnacle of 400 years of science and gives the correct answer to hundreds of thousands of experiments.
Earth in Detail
Earth From Space
One hour of 4k video of Earth from space.
The Indian Ocean in 4k, over a few days.
A collection of some of the best footage from the International Space Station.
Life on Earth
The oldest living things in the world.
“This tree was a sapling during the Mayan empire, and is still living today.”
Life In Space
The Fermi Paradox I
Where Are All The Aliens? – from Kurzgesagt
The Fermi Paradox II
Solutions and Ideas – Where Are All The Aliens?
- The History of the Universe in One Year – A short article and infographic equating the evolution of the universe to one year.
- In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on Living Through Turbulent Times – Perspective to lift the blinders of our cultural moment.
- The Big and the Small – An awesome romp through the known scale of the universe, looking at the Universe in a Nutshell app.
- Galaxy Brain Is Real – Looking at the long views from the Hubble space telescope might be good for you.
- Earth Rise – From the astronauts to humanity itself, ‘Earthrise’ has left an indelible mark. This video and article dig into people’s experiences seeing the earth from space.
- Why Are We All Talking About U.F.O.s Right Now? – U.F.O.s were once a taboo topic for the U.S. government, but not anymore. A long-anticipated report was released.
- First Person: Jill Tarter – An interview with the co-founder of SETI, and who Jodi Foster’s character in Contact was based on. Here is an interview with her from OnBeing podcast.
- Startup Space Perspective plans space tourist cruises using stratospheric balloons – A fun article about a private space company with big plans.
- Cosmic Conflict: Diverging Data on Universe’s Expansion Polarizes Scientists – A disagreement between two canonical measures of intergalactic distances could signal a renaissance in physics—or deep flaws in our studies of cosmic evolution. Here is another article on the subject.
- The Cosmological Constant Is Physics’ Most Embarrassing Problem – Physicists have new ideas about why the energy of empty space is so much weaker than it is predicted to be.
- When Did Time Really Begin? The Little Loophole in the Big Bang – A pleasurable warping of the figuring faculty to contemplate what was there before the before.
- Humanity’s Most Successful Scientific Theory, Animated – How the gaps in gravity contour the next frontiers in the quest to understand the fundaments of what we are.
- 100,000 Stars – An interactive webpage showing our local corner of the galaxy.
- The Overview Institute – “From space, the astronauts tell us, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide us become less important and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.”
- “The Last Question” by Isaac Asimov – (Short Story) – Quickly read this short story on this site for a fun look into an accelerating expansion of technology and galactic consciousness.
- Reimagining the Cosmos with Brian Green – (Podcast Episode) Enjoy this compelling interview from the OnBeing Podcast.
- Niel Degrasse Tyson’s Startalk – (Youtube Channel) – The classic podcast has a wonderful accompanying youtube channel offering highlights.
- Astrum – (Youtube Channel) – How big is the Solar System? What actually orbits our Sun? Why should I even be interested in space? This channel answers these and a whole host of other questions.
- Universe in a Nutshell – (App) – The range of size in the universe, from the tiniest particles to the epic galaxies – we take you on a journey of size that lets you explore it all with a single swipe. How big is a planet, compared to a human? And how small is an atom really? You can’t fully wrap your head around the scope of things by just reading about them – so this app lets you experience them in comparison to get a feeling for their true scale.
- Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth – (Movie) – A precocious 7-year-old who, over the course of Earth Day, learns about the wonders of the planet from his parents and from a mysterious exhibit at the aptly titled Museum of Everything.
Amazon: The Universe
- Cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson – A 13-part adventure across the universe of space and time, COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY airs Sundays at 9/8c on FOX and Mondays at 9/8c on the National Geographic Channel. Based on the original series from Carl Sagan, which can now be found on youtube.
- How the Universe Works – Journey deep into space and examine the moons, planets and stars that make up the cosmos. First 2 seasons here. Recommended episodes: 3-8.
- Space’s Deepest Secrets – From the New Horizons mission that saw Pluto for the first time to the Mars rovers, a new breed of explorers are risking their careers, and even their lives, to lead humanity to worlds we have never seen.
- Through the Wormhole – Hosted by Morgan Freeman, this show explores the deepest mysteries of existence – the questions that have puzzled mankind for eternity: Who-or what-am I? Are we alone? How did this begin? Recommended episodes: 1, 2
- Strip the Cosmos – explores the hidden secrets of black holes, the sun, asteroids, comets, Mars and alien worlds by stripping them of their gas, force-fields, rocks, and magma, layer by layer, in stunning CGI animation.
- Wonders of the Universe Collection – Journey into the depths of the universe using the latest deep-space technology and imagery. Recommended episodes: 1, 3
- Known Universe – Travel through the universe to explore the really big questions. Is there life on other planets? Just how big was the Big Bang? What would traveling at “warp speed” really look like?
- The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries – What do scientists know about the universe? What still remains to be uncovered? What are some of the next avenues of exploration? Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson’s course The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries is a marvelous journey to the frontiers of the known (and unknown) universe and introduces you to tantalizing questions being addressed by the world’s top scientists. Recommended episodes: 2, 5
- Cosmos: Possible Worlds – (Disney+) – Following the wildly successful “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” Neil deGrasse Tyson returns as host to translate more revelations of science into a lavish transporting experience, taking audiences on a series of spiritual voyages of exploration.
- Alien Worlds – (Netflix) – Applying the laws of life on Earth to the rest of the galaxy, this series blends science fact and fiction to imagine alien life on other planets.
- Life From Above – (PBS) – Behold Earth as it’s never been seen before. Cameras in space tell stories of life on our planet from a brand-new perspective, revealing its incredible movements, colors, patterns and just how fast it’s changing.
- The Most Unknown – (Netflix) – Traversing disciplines from physics to psychology, nine scientists share ideas and seek common ground by delving into deep existential questions.
- Our Planet – (Netflix) – There are many incredible nature documentaries on Netflix and beyond (thanks, David Attenborough!), but this is the one we MOST recommend.
- Life After People – (History) – A TV show in which scientists speculate on what would become of the earth if humans instantly disappeared.
The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light – A deeply panoramic tour of the night, from its brightest spots to the darkest skies we have left. Here is a TED talk by the author.
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe – The first three editions of NightWatch sold more than 600,000 copies, making it the top-selling stargazing guide in the world for the last 20 years. The key feature of this classic title is the section of star charts that are cherished by backyard astronomers everywhere.
Overview: A New Perspective of Earth – A stunning and unique collection of satellite images of Earth that offer an unexpected look at humanity, derived from the wildly popular Daily Overview Instagram account.