This updated version of "Powers of Ten" provides a visualization of scale, beginning with a distant view of the Milky Way from a reference point 10 million light years from Earth (10^23). It moves through space at successive orders of magnitude until it reaches an oak tree in Florida. At that point, it moves from a single leaf through cells on the leaf surface, the nucleus of one leaf cell, chromatin, and DNA strands (a scale of 10 nanometers, or 10^-8). From this point, an artist has rendered illustrations of nucleotides, electron cloud surrounding the nucleus, the nucleus of one carbon atom, a single proton, and quarks (estimated at 100 attometers, or 10^-16 meters).
Editor's Note:See Related Materials for a link to Nanoreisen, virtual "nano-journeys" that take the user deep inside a laptop microchip, an LED, and a carbon-based cell. It is formatted in descending powers of 10, from the scale of one meter to the femtometer size. Remarkable photography and computer-generated imaging!
9-12: 4A/H3. Increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe. Visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes collect information from across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves; computers handle data and complicated computations to interpret them; space probes send back data and materials from remote parts of the solar system; and accelerators give subatomic particles energies that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.
9. The Mathematical World
9-12: 9A/H1. Comparison of numbers of very different size can be made approximately by expressing them as nearest powers of ten.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11D/M3. Natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.
9-12: 11D/H1. Representing very large or very small numbers in terms of powers of ten makes it easier to perform calculations using those numbers.
12. Habits of Mind
12B. Computation and Estimation
6-8: 12B/M9. Express numbers like 100, 1,000, and 1,000,000 as powers of ten.
Next Generation Science Standards
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (3-12)
Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small. (6-8)
Phenomena that can be observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale. (6-8)
Using the concept of orders of magnitude allows one to understand how a model at one scale relates to a model at another scale. (9-12)
This resource is part of 2 Physics Front Topical Units.
Topic: Measurement and the Language of Physics Unit Title: Frames of Reference
When introducing frames of reference, it helps if your students have a sense of scale. In this wonderful update of "Powers of 10", your students view images of the Milky Way at 10 million light years from Earth, then move through space at successive orders of magnitude until they reach an oak tree in Florida. After that, the applet decreases in progression down to molecular structure of one leaf, and on to chromatin, DNA, and subatomic particles.
Topic: Measurement and the Language of Physics Unit Title: Scale, Order of Magnitude, and Estimation
An updated version of "Powers of 10". View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from Earth, then move through space at successive orders of magnitude until you reach an oak tree in Florida. After than, move from a single leaf to the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA, and subatomic particles.
%0 Electronic Source %A Davidson, Michael %D 2006 %T Science, Optics & You: Secret Worlds - The Universe Within %V 2014 %N 11 March 2014 %9 application/java %U http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/
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