The Known Universe in 360°
[A scene of mountains all around, with the sky above and the white glow of the horizon in the distance. Text appears, “The Himalayan mountain range”.]
[The camera moves away from the mountains as if blasting off in a rocket from the surface of the Earth. Eventually, the entire planet hovers below and the stars are visible all around. Text appears, “Planet Earth” and behind, “Our Sun” next to a big glowing star close by.]
[Orange, yellow, green and purple lines appear surrounding the Earth’s surface and further away in an orbit around the Earth. Text appears, “Artificial Satellites.”]
[We move further away from the Earth and the satellites fade away. Brightly colored lines appear in a plane around us in space in circles. Text appears, “Orbits of the Planets”.
[We turn clockwise until we’re facing the Sun. Green dots appear in the same plane as the planets. Text appears, “The Asteroid Belt.”
[We continue to move away from the Sun and see the orbits of the planets more clearly around the Sun as we move. Text appears, “Light travel time from Earth: 1 hour.”]
[Eventually all the orbits of the planets are visible with a sea of stars behind them. Text appears, “Our Solar System.” More text appears, “Light travel time from Earth: 1 day.”]
[Beyond the Solar System, lines connect the stars into different shapes. Text appears, “Constellations.”]
[As we continue to fly away the Solar System disappears, and the brightness of the Sun increases until we can only see it as a star amongst all the other stars. Text appears, “The Sun’s true brightness compared to other stars.” More text appears, “Light travel time from Earth: 1 year.”]
[We continue to fly away from the Sun and the lines of the constellations become distorted, as some stars within them soar past us. The constellations fade away and give way to blue circles around stars. Text appears, “Confirmed exoplanets.” More text appears, “Light travel time from Earth: 80 years.”]
[A blue grid-like sphere appears in front of us as we continue to fly away. Text appears, “Farthest-reaching human radio signals”].
[We continue to fly outward and upward until the blue sphere is barely visible. The stars are converging into a swirling galaxy. Text appears, “The Milky Way”. More text appears, “Light travel time from Earth: 100,000 years.”]
[As we continue to fly away, the Milky Way gets smaller and smaller. Around us, instead of stars there are blue, orange, and yellow dots. Text appears, “Nearby galaxies.” More text appears, “Light travel time from Earth: 80 years.”1 million years.”]
[The dots move closer and closer together as we continue to fly through them. Text appears, “Mapped Galaxies.” More text appears, “Light travel time from Earth: 100 million years.”]
[We continue to move through the dots of galaxies as they start to converge into a butterfly shape. Text appears, “Areas we have yet to map.” More text appears, “Light travel time from Earth: 5 billion years.”]
[As we move away from the center of the butterfly shape, some of the outer dots are red. Text appears, “Quasars, the farthest objects we can see.”]
[We continue to move further and further away from the butterfly shape and a mottled blue, purple, and yellow sphere appears all around us. We fly through it and see it from the outside. Text appears, “Radiation from the Big Bang… light from a younger universe.” More text appears, “Light travel time from Earth: 13.7 billion years.”]
[As we sit in this space, more text appears, “Our cosmic horizon in space and time.”]
[We then start to fly backwards towards the center of the butterfly shape. Text appears, “And now, back to the present.”]
[We fly back along the same route we took to get to the radiation from the big bang, seeing all the same sights as before. Finally we appear over Earth again, with its blue oceans and swirling white clouds. Text appears, “Our home in the cosmos.” Credits appear.]
Jackie Faherty & Brian Abbott
“The Wind, The Sun, The Sea Part 2” by Wolfgang M Neumann (GEMA) & Thomas Simmerl (GEMA) / Warner/Chappell Production Music
Original Concept for The Known Universe developed by Carter Emmart, Rebecca Oppenheimer, Michael Hoffman, Roe Kinzler, Martin Brauen, and Brian Abbott.
OpenSpace is funded in part by NASA under award No NNX16AB93A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
OpenSpace is funded in part by the Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), and the Swedish e-Science Research Centre.
© American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY]
Travel from the Himalayan mountain range through Earth’s atmosphere, out past the Milky Way and into the inky black of space, all the way to the afterglow of the Big Bang–now in immersive 360 video. Every planet, star, and quasar shown in this video is based on real scientific data from space missions and telescopes around the world (and in outer space!), visualized in OpenSpace, an open source interactive data visualization software designed to dynamically portray the entire known universe and our ongoing efforts to investigate the cosmos.
See the original version, created by the American Museum of Natural History in 2009.
Want more stunning visualizations of our galaxy, and beyond? Join Museum astrophysicists for monthly guided tours of the universe in the Astronomy Live series, presented live in the dome of the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater.