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Visual Scale of Sizes, from Subatomic to Intergalactic

An unique display of every size known to science.




Bottom of long version/top of short version

Visual Scale of Sizes, from Subatomic to Intergalactic
Logarithmic, in meters
Long Version
one fermi 1x10-15tick tick1x10-15 diameter of proton (in the nucleus)
   
   
  tick2.2x10-15 classical diameter of neutron
  tick3.8x10-15 diameter of the nucleus of a helium atom
   
  tick5.635882x10-15 classical diameter of an electron
  tick7.2x10-15 diameter of the nucleus of an aluminum atom
   
  tick1.4x10-14 diameter of the nucleus of a gold atom
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
one picometer 1x10-12tick  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  tick3.8x10-11 diameter of fluorine ion
  tick5.29x10-11 distance from electron to nucleus in a hydrogen atom
  tick7.413x10-11 distance between bonded hydrogen atoms
one angstrom 1x10-10tick  
  tick1.2x10-10 Van Der Waals radius of hydrogen atoms
   
  tick2x10-10 resolution of a transmission electron microscope
  tick3x10-10 diameter of water molecule
   
  tick5.309x10-10 distance between bonded cesium atoms
   
   
one nanometer 1x10-9tick  
   
  tick2x10-9 diameter of DNA helix
   
   
   
  tick6x10-9 diameter of a hemoglobin molecule
   
  tick1x10-8 thickness of cell wall (gram negative bacteria)
   
   
   
   
   
   
  tick7.5x10-8 size of typical virus
  tick9x10-8 length of transistor gate in a Pentium 4 chip
  tick1.25x10-7 thickness of gold leaf
   
  tick2x10-7 resolution of an optical microscope
  tick2.6x10-7 length of the smallest transistor in a Pentium 3 chip
  tick4.1x10-7 wavelength of violet light
   
  tick6.8x10-7 wavelength of red light
   
one micrometer (micron) 1x10-6tick tick1x10-6 size of typical bacterium
   
  tick1.7x10-6 diameter of average human cell nucleus
  tick2.4x10-6 thickness of red blood cell
  tick3x10-6 length of transistor gate in an Intel 8086 chip
  tick4x10-6 diameter of capillary
  tick7x10-6 diameter of a single yeast organism
  tick8.4x10-6 diameter of red blood cell
  tick1x10-5 size of a grain of talcum powder
  tick1.6x10-5 length of the smallest transistor in the first 6502 chips
   
  tick2x10-5 length of the smallest transistor in an Intel 4004
  tick2.5x10-5 diameter of a human hair
   
   
  tick8.382x10-5 typical thickness of a piece of paper
  tick1x10-4 minimum size of object the human eye can resolve unaided
   
   
   
  tick3x10-4 diameter of a period on a typewriter
  tick3.7x10-4 diameter of the most common type of optical fiber
   
   
  tick7.5x10-4 size of largest known bacterium
one millimeter 1x10-3tick  
  tick1.7x10-3 diameter of the head of the average pin
  tick2x10-3 diameter of a large grain of sand
   
   
  tick4.234x10-3 height of a line of text in 12-point type
   
   
one centimeter 1x10-2tick  
   
  tick1.7x10-2 wavelength of 20khz note (highest that can be heard)
one inch 2.54x10-2tick  
   
   
   
   
  tick8.5x10-2 length of largest human chromosome if stretched end-to-end
  tick1.22x10-1 wavelength of microwaves in a microwave oven
   
   
one foot 3.0x10-1tick  
   
   
  tick7.9x10-1 wavelength of 440 hertz note (A above middle C)
 one meter 1x100tick  
  tick1.62x100Average female height
  tick1.75x100Average male height
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  tick1.7x101 wavelength of 20 hertz note (lowest that can be heard)
   
  tick3x101 average wavelength of FM radio waves
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  tick2.997925x102 distance light travels in one microsecond, in a vacuum
  tick4.1x102 distance a bullet travels per second, when fired from a .22
   
   
   
one kilometer 1x103tick  
one mile 1.61x103tick  
   
   
   
  tick4.47x103 greatest measured thickness of antarctic ice cap
   
   
  tick8.85x103 height of Mount Everest
   
   
   
  tick2.978x104 distance the earth travels per second in its orbit
   
  tick6x104 thickness of ozone layer
   
  tick8x104 height of ionosphere (ionized region which reflects radio waves)
   
  tick100 miles 1.61x105
   
  tick2.997925x105 distance light travels in one millisecond, in a vacuum
  tick3.54x105 average altitude of International Space Station
   
  tick6.4x105 height of lowest point of inner Van Allen belt
   
  tick1x106 thickness of earth
1x106tick tick1.414x106 altitude of Globalstar satellites (LEO)
   
  tick2.274x106 diameter of Pluto at its equator
  tick3.4748x106 diameter of moon
  tick4.8794x106 diameter of Mercury at its equator
   
  tick6.7944x106 diameter of Mars at its equator
  tick9.38x106 mean distance from Phobos to Mars
  tick1.27562x107 diameter of Earth at its equator
  tick2.02x107 altitude of GPS satellites
  tick2.346x107 mean distance from Deimos to Mars
   
  tick3.58x107 height of satellite in geostationary orbit
  tick4.9492x107 diameter of Neptune at its equator
   
   
  tick1.2053x108 diameter of Saturn at its equator
  tick1.4298x108 diameter of Jupiter at its equator
   
  tick2.997925x108 distance light travels in one second, in a vacuum
  tick3.844x108 mean distance from earth to moon
   
   
  tick8.68912x108 max initial altitude of Geotail satellite (VHO)
1x109tick tick1.07x109 mean distance from Jupiter to Ganymede
  tick1.39x109 diameter of sun at its equator
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  tick1.798755x1010 distance light travels in one minute, in a vacuum
   
   
   
  tick5.791x1010 mean distance of Mercury from the sun
   
  tick1.082x1011 mean distance of Venus from the sun
   
one astronomical unit 1.50x1011tick  
  tick2.2794x1011 mean distance of Mars from the sun
   
  tick4.139x1011 mean distance of the asteroid Ceres from the sun
   
   
  tick7.7833x1011 mean distance of Jupiter from the sun
1x1012tick tick1.079253x1012 distance light travels in one hour, in a vacuum
  tick1.4294x1012 mean distance of Saturn from the sun
   
  tick2.87099x1012 mean distance of Uranus from the sun
   
  tick4.5043x1012 mean distance of Neptune from the sun
  tick5.91352x1012 mean distance of Pluto from the sun
   
  tick9.323x1012 current distance of Voyager 2 from sun (as of 10/27/00)
  tick1.1837x1013 current distance of Voyager 1 from sun (as of 10/27/00)
  tick2.0x1013 heliopause (outer edge of Sun's magnetic field)
  tick2.590207x1013 distance light travels in one day, in a vacuum
   
   
  tick5.56x1013 maximum distance of comet Hale-Bopp from the sun
   
   
   
  tick1.813145x1014 distance light travels in one week, in a vacuum
   
   
   
   
   
1x1015tick  
   
   
   
   
  tick3.7x1015 possible distance of Sol B from Sun
   
   
   
one light year 9.5x1015tick  
  tick1.4x1016 possible edge of Oort cloud
   
   
one parsec 3.1x1016tick  
  tick3.99x1016 distance to Proxima Centauri (nearest star other than sun)
   
   
  tick8.1x1016 distance to the star Sirius
   
   
  tick2.39x1017 distance to the star Vega
   
  tick3.2x1017 distance to the star Pollux
  tick4.9x1017 distance to the star Castor
   
  tick7.3x1017 distance to the star Regulus
   
1x1018tick  
  tick2x1018 thickness of Milky Way Galaxy
   
   
  tick4.0x1018 distance to the star Polaris
   
   
   
  tick1.5x1019 distance to Horsehead Nebula
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  tick2.6x1020 distance to center of Milky Way Galaxy
   
  tick4.2x1020 diameter of M33 galaxy
   
   
1x1021tick tick1x1021 distance to Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy
  tick1.54x1021 diameter of Milky Way Galaxy
  tick2x1021 distance to Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  tick2.0x1022 distance to Andromeda galaxy
  tick3x1022 distance to IC 10 galaxy
  tick4x1022 distance to Pegasus galaxy
   
   
  tick1.0x1023 distance to the M81 galaxy cluster
   
  tick1.4x1023 distance to the M83 galaxy
   
  tick2.5x1023 distance to the M101 galaxy
  tick3.5x1023 distance to the M51 galaxy cluster
  tick5x1023 distance to the Virgo galaxy cluster
   
   
   
   
1x1024tick  
   
  tick3.2x1024 distance to the Coma galaxy cluster
   
   
   
  tick1x1025 distance to brightest quasar (3C 273)
   
   
   
  tick3x1025 distance to quasar 3C 48
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  tick2.4x1026 distance to farthest known object (quasar SDSS_1044_0125)

Top of page    Top of long version


Visual Scale of Sizes, from Subatomic to Intergalactic
Logarithmic, in meters
Short Version
one fermi 1x10-15tick tick1x10-15 diameter of proton (in the nucleus)
  tick2.2x10-15 classical diameter of neutron
  tick3.8x10-15 diameter of the nucleus of a helium atom
  tick5.635882x10-15 classical diameter of an electron
one picometer 1x10-12tick  
  tick5.29x10-11 distance from electron to nucleus in a hydrogen atom
one angstrom 1x10-10tick  
  tick3x10-10 diameter of water molecule
one nanometer 1x10-9tick  
  tick2x10-9 diameter of DNA helix
  tick2x10-7 resolution of an optical microscope
  tick6.8x10-7 wavelength of red light
one micrometer (micron) 1x10-6tick tick1x10-6 size of typical bacterium
  tick1.7x10-6 diameter of average human cell nucleus
  tick2.5x10-5 diameter of a human hair
  tick1x10-4 minimum size of object the human eye can resolve unaided
one millimeter 1x10-3tick  
one centimeter 1x10-2tick  
one foot 3.0x10-1tick  
  tick7.9x10-1 wavelength of 440 hertz note (A above middle C)
 one meter 1x100tick  
  tick1.62x100Average female height
  tick1.7x101 wavelength of 20 hertz note (lowest that can be heard)
  tick2.997925x102 distance light travels in one microsecond, in a vacuum
one kilometer 1x103tick  
one mile 1.61x103tick  
  tick2.978x104 distance the earth travels per second in its orbit
  tick2.997925x105 distance light travels in one millisecond, in a vacuum
1x106tick tick1.414x106 altitude of Globalstar satellites (LEO)
  tick1.27562x107 diameter of Earth at its equator
  tick3.58x107 height of satellite in geostationary orbit
  tick3.844x108 mean distance from earth to moon
1x109tick tick1.07x109 mean distance from Jupiter to Ganymede
  tick5.791x1010 mean distance of Mercury from the sun
one astronomical unit 1.50x1011tick  
  tick2.2794x1011 mean distance of Mars from the sun
1x1012tick tick1.079253x1012 distance light travels in one hour, in a vacuum
  tick1.4294x1012 mean distance of Saturn from the sun
  tick1.1837x1013 current distance of Voyager 1 from sun (as of 10/27/00)
  tick5.56x1013 maximum distance of comet Hale-Bopp from the sun
1x1015tick  
one light year 9.5x1015tick  
  tick1.4x1016 possible edge of Oort cloud
  tick3.99x1016 distance to Proxima Centauri (nearest star other than sun)
1x1018tick  
  tick4.0x1018 distance to the star Polaris
  tick2.6x1020 distance to center of Milky Way Galaxy
  tick4.2x1020 diameter of M33 galaxy
1x1021tick tick1x1021 distance to Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy
  tick1.54x1021 diameter of Milky Way Galaxy
  tick2.0x1022 distance to Andromeda galaxy
  tick5x1023 distance to the Virgo galaxy cluster
1x1024tick  
  tick1x1025 distance to brightest quasar (3C 273)
  tick2.4x1026 distance to farthest known object (quasar SDSS_1044_0125)

Description and comments

The scale is logarithmic in meters. Units are on the left, sizes and distances on the right.

The first version of this was created with CSS absolute positioning, but I was unhappy with that and this version is done with tables, which is less precise but much more robust.

The precision of positioning is limited by the spacing of the table cells. In a few cases, I have adjusted the tick marks to indicate a more precise position than is possible for the text.

The short version is necessarily less accurate than the long version.

In any case, use of these charts for either intergalactic navigation or brain surgery is discouraged.

Corrections, comments, questions, or suggestions for new items? Please email me.

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Charts, Graphs, & Diagrams > Miscellaneous > Visual Scale of Sizes

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