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Ray and Charles Eames' movie The Powers of Ten travels from the earth outward to the edges of the universe and then inward to observe a carbon atom. It's expansive, intense and exhilarating! Take a powers of ten ride and learn about the biggest and smallest things in our amazing world!

The Powers of Ten

This 1977 short documentary by Ray and Charles Eames is an adventure in magnitudes: the camera moves at a rate of 10-to-the-tenth meters per second. First it expands out from the Earth's surface and stops at the outer limits of the universe. Then is reduces inward to observe a single carbon atom. It's a thrilling ride! 

What are "powers of ten"?

A "power of 10" is ten multiplied by itself a certain number of times:

Ten to the power of 1=10 (10x1) 

Ten to the power of 2=10x10=100 (10x2)

Ten to the power of 3=10x10x10 =1,000 (10x3)

Ten to the power of 4-=10x10x10x10=10,000 (10x4)


Living thing (by volume): Sequoia trees grow up to 275' tall and 26' in diameter.

Animal (alive today): blue whales can grow to 108' in length and can weigh 150 tons.

Animal (ever): Amphicoelias were hervibore dinosaurs that could be at long at 190' long.

Bird: the wing span of Argentavis could reach almost 23'.

Fruit: Jackfruit can reach 35" length and 19" in diameter.

Flower: Rafflesia can be up to 39" in diameter.


Thing: a quark is a type of elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. It cannot be broken down into a smaller component.

Animal: Kitti's hog-nosed bats are about the same size as a bumble bee and are 1.1" long.

Bird: Bee Hummingbirds, found only in Cuba, are 2-1/4" long.

Fruit and flowering plant: Asian watermeal reaches about 1/3" and the fruit is even tinier, as small as 0.7 mm. 

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