MARTIN KRZYWINSKI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTIN KRZYWINSKI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pi star chart representation, illustration. The stars on this chart are a synthetic universe created from the first 12 million digits of Pi. Successive blocks of 12 digits were used to produce co-ordinates for stars and their brightness. The resulting distribution was manipulated to produce a universe-like appearance. This chart (plate carree projection) shows 40,000 stars and 80 constellations (named for extinct animals and plants). Pi (the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent the constant of the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is a crucial element of periodic functions and is found in many formulae in trigonometry and geometry. The value of this ratio is approximately 3.14159. It has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point, though as an irrational and transcendental number it continues infinitely without repetition or pattern.
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