The universe is so vast it’s almost impossible to picture what it might look like crammed into one field of view.
But musician Pablo Carlos Budassi managed to do it by combining logarithmic maps of the universe from Princeton and images from NASA. He created the image below that shows the observable universe in one disc.
Our sun and solar system are at the very center of the image, followed by the outer ring of our Milky Way galaxy, the Perseus arm of the Milky Way, a ring of other nearby galaxies like Andromeda, the rest of the cosmic web, cosmic microwave background radiation leftover from the big bang, and finally a ring of plasma also generated by the big bang:
Logarithms help us make sense of huge numbers, and in this case, huge distances. Rather than showing all parts of the universe on a linear scale, each chunk of the circle represents a field of view several orders of magnitude larger than the one before it. That’s why the entire observable universe can fit inside the circle.
Budassi got the idea after making hexaflexagons for his son’s birthday one year. (If you haven’t seen a hexaflexagon in action, get ready to have your mind blown.)
“Then when I was drawing hexaflexagons for my [son’s] birthday souvenirs I started drawing central views of the cosmos and the solar system,” Budassi told Tech Insider in an email. “That day the idea of a logarithmic view came and in the next days I was able to [assemble] it with photoshop using images from NASA and some textures created by my own.”
He released the image into public domain, and has created a few other log scales, too.