Morgan Freeman and the universe

I love these scale-of-the-universe videos. The most impressive, to me, is this one, from the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History:

It’s a six-minute condensed version of their incredible planetarium software, the Digital Universe Atlas — which is, amazingly, downloadable for personal use. I’ve had the privilege of attending one of the planetarium’s public tours, where they project the atlas onto the huge dome and demonstrate exactly what it can do: zoom in for close-up views of stars and planets as desired, show the current and projected trajectories of human-made satellites, switch on the thousands of labels for all the named stars, and more. A humbling experience.

Then again, it’s hard to resist a version narrated by Morgan Freeman, that takes you down into microscopic levels as well:

Update: How could I forget? The opening zoom-out from Contact is a classic:

I especially like the audio track of Earth’s radio transmissions, running in reverse as we pull back, and dwindling down to the very earliest signals, furthest out from home. Then — silence, and vastness. And eventually, the known universe morphs into a reflection in a young girl’s eye: we are in the universe, as Neil DeGrasse Tyson says, but the universe is also in us.

(h/t Atheist Planet)

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