Explanation: What color is the universe? More precisely, if the entire sky were smeared out, what color would the final mix be? This whimsical question came up when trying to determine what stars are commonplace in nearby galaxies. The answer, depicted above, is a conditionally perceived shade of beige. To determine this, astronomers computationally averaged the light emitted by one of the largest sample of galaxies yet analyzed: the 200,000 galaxies of the 2dF survey. The resulting cosmic spectrum has some emission in all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, but a single perceived composite color.
Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only a s a speck of light among many others. Written and directed by Ray Eames and her husband, Charles Eames, rereleased in 1977.
Since my astronomy professor showed us this film last fall I’ve kind of loved it. I’ve always been fascinated by the scale of our universe, both large and small things. It makes our presence on Earth feel that much more miraculous.
"Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."
Carl Sagan, from a lecture at Cornell University (1994)
I just found out that Carl Sagan’s seminal 1980 science series, Cosmos, is completely free to watch in it’s entirety on Hulu. The program covered a wide range of scientific subjects including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe. I know what I’ll be doing for the next few days.
I realize I’m geeking out a bit with the last two posts.