HARALD RITSCH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HARALD RITSCH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Universe to quark, orders of magnitude. Illustration of the change in size and orders of magnitude from the largest to the smallest objects in the universe. This change is shown in ten stages in a clockwise spiral starting at upper left, with the scale given in metres for each stage. The stages are: the visible universe (93 billion light years across), a galaxy cluster (10 million light years across), the Milky Way galaxy (110,000 light years across), the Solar System (150 billion kilometres across), the Earth (12,756 kilometres across), a human footprint in a circle of sand (1 metre across), a sand grain (0.5 millimetres across), a group of silicon dioxide molecules (1 nanometre across), an oxygen nucleus (10 femtometres across), and a quark (1 attometre across). Sand consists of silicon dioxide (silica, SiO2), which contains oxygen atoms. The nuclei of atoms contain protons and neutrons, which are themselves made up of quarks. For this illustration without labels, see image C030/8965.
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