Trying to imagine the smallest things in our universe is a rather difficult task. Similarly, it is hard to truly conceive of the largest things in the cosmos—supermassive black holes, large quasar groups, and the most massive stars. So it’s not too surprising that  simultaneously imagining  the smallest of the small and the largest of the large is a mind-bendingly difficult task. Fortunately, this awesome interactive graphic let’s you do just that. You can slide all the way from the tiny nucleus of a hydrogen atom to the scale of the observable universe (note: this may not be responsive on mobile devices, so bookmark for later).

According to the creators:

This interactive infographic illustrates the scale of over 100 items within the observable universe—ranging from animals and insects, nebulae and stars, to molecules and atoms. Numerous hot points along the zoom slider allow for direct access to planets, animals, atoms and more. As you scroll, a handy dial spins to show you your present magnification level.

While other sites have tried to magnify the universe, no one else has done so with real photographs and 3D renderings. To fully capture the awe of the vastly different sizes of the Pillars of Creation, Andromeda, the sun, elephants and HIV, you really need to see images, not just illustrations of these items.

Each time you zoom in a depth, you’re magnifying the universe 10x … and every time you zoom out, the bigger objects are 1/10th of their prior size. If you zoom from the biggest object, The Observable Universe (8.8 x 10E26 … or 880,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000m across), all the way down to the hydrogen atom’s proton nucleus (1.7 x 10E-15 … or 0.0000000000000017m across), you will have zoomed in over 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000x! Unbelievable isn’t it? Our universe really is immensely massive and surprisingly small.

Copyright 2012. Magnifying the Universe by Number Sleuth.