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The Cosmic Distance Scale DLESE Reviewed Collection
This resource gives an impression of how immense our Universe is by starting with an image of the Earth and then zooming out to the furthest visible reaches of the Universe. Its goal is to show astronomical distances without scientific notation. Instead, it focuses on the large number of zeros that are in astronomical distances when we measure them with a familiar unit like the kilometer. The number of zeros increases with each zoom, though not at a constant rate. The progression is from Earth to Solar System, to nearest star system, to the solar neighborhood, to our galaxy, to the next galaxy, and so on, to the farthest visible reaches of space. At each stop, the student can click for more information and learn about the image, about the distance, how the distance is calculated and why it is important, and the travel time to get there. Other stops include local groups of galaxies, local super-clusters, nearest super-clusters, and sheets and voids, including the Great Wall and the Perseus-Pisces Chain.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
  • Informal
Type of resource:
  • Visual:
    • Illustration - scientific
  • Text:
    • Ref. material
Subject:
  • Space science
  • Other
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
NASA generally has no objection to the reproduction and use of NASA materials (photographs, figures, maps, tables, and/or data), subject to the following conditions: NASA material may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA or by any NASA employee of a commercial product, service or activity, or used in any manner that might mislead. NASA should be acknowledged as the source of the material. It is unlawful to falsely claim copyright or other rights in NASA material. NASA does not indemnify nor hold harmless users of NASA material, nor release such users from copyright infringement, nor grant exclusive use rights with respect to NASA material. NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted. If copyrighted, permission should be obtained from the copyright owner prior to use. If not copyrighted, NASA material may be reproduced and distributed without further permission from NASA. If a recognizable person, or talent (e.g., a noted personality engaged to narrate a film) appears in NASA material, use for commercial purposes of that person's or talent's name, photograph likeness, voice, or biographical material may infringe a right of privacy or publicity. Therefore, permission should be obtained from the recognizable person or talent. Some NASA material may incorporate music or photography which is copyrighted and licensed for the particular NASA work. Any editing or otherwise altering of the work may not be covered under the original license, and therefore would require permission of the copyright owner.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-006-009
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth in the solar system
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • Nature of scientific knowledge
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Maggie Masetti
High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Publisher: Director
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC)