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written by Michael Davidson
A series of "Powers of Ten" is sequentially displayed, beginning with a square covering 1023 m on a side and progressing through 10-16 m on a side.  The scale and description of what is being seen is given on each image.
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© 2006 NHMFL and Michael Davidson
Powers of 10, Powers of Ten, orders of magnitude, perspective, scale, size
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Date Metadata Instance was created October 10, 2003 by Bruce Mason
Record Updated:
July 18, 2018 by Bruce Mason
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Too Old to Learn

Author: gibson john
Posted: February 5, 2010 at 4:14PM

I am a 57 year old African American male who recently enrolled in an astronomy class.  I feel lost.  When I was in grade school some hundred light years ago, education was a deprived comodity for me.  Now that it is made available, it is difficult for me to remember all the terms.  Can anyyou give me some advise for doing well in this new subject.  The interrest is there, it is the comprehension that is getting in my way.

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Next Generation Science Standards

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (3-12)
  • Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small. (6-8)
  • Phenomena that can be observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale. (6-8)
  • Using the concept of orders of magnitude allows one to understand how a model at one scale relates to a model at another scale. (9-12)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4A. The Universe
  • 9-12: 4A/H3. Increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe. Visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes collect information from across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves; computers handle data and complicated computations to interpret them; space probes send back data and materials from remote parts of the solar system; and accelerators give subatomic particles energies that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.

9. The Mathematical World

9A. Numbers
  • 9-12: 9A/H1. Comparison of numbers of very different size can be made approximately by expressing them as nearest powers of ten.

11. Common Themes

11D. Scale
  • 6-8: 11D/M3. Natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.
  • 9-12: 11D/H1. Representing very large or very small numbers in terms of powers of ten makes it easier to perform calculations using those numbers.

12. Habits of Mind

12B. Computation and Estimation
  • 6-8: 12B/M9. Express numbers like 100, 1,000, and 1,000,000 as powers of ten.
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M. Davidson, (2006), WWW Document, (
M. Davidson, Science, Optics & You: Secret Worlds - The Universe Within (2006), <>.
APA Format
Davidson, M. (2006). Science, Optics & You: Secret Worlds - The Universe Within. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
Chicago Format
Davidson, Michael. Science, Optics & You: Secret Worlds - The Universe Within. 2006. (accessed 19 July 2024).
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Davidson, Michael. Science, Optics & You: Secret Worlds - The Universe Within. 2006. 19 July 2024 <>.
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@misc{ Author = "Michael Davidson", Title = {Science, Optics & You: Secret Worlds - The Universe Within}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {19 July 2024}, Year = {2006} }
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