Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps
by Kees Boeke
page 5
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one-tenth scale, we have moved 45 meters; if we then move again, to a distance of 500 meters, to reduce the scale again to one-tenth the previous scale, we will have moved 450 meters, or ten times the length of our first jump. The next jump would be 4,500 meters, to a distance of 5,000 meters, etc. We soon find that we have started on a tremendous journey of exploration, and we begin to wonder what we shall discover if we continue in the same way.

The first 26 pictures of this book are the record of such an imaginary journey.

When we undertook our plan, we saw that we must first decide on the date and the time of day of the journey, for we must know where the sun would be at that moment. So we assumed that the moment of observation in each case would be and would remain December 21st at noon. We knew that the sun would then be at the winter solstice and that it would stand in the south. As an "object" to start with, we chose a child sitting in a deck chair in the courtyard of the school building, facing toward the south. As we raised our point of observation we saw first the school itself, then our village: Bilthoven near the town of Utrecht in the center of the Netherlands. Next our view included the whole central part of that country. Going still higher, we saw the western part of Europe, and then the whole earth. Soon the moon came into view, then the nearer planets and the sun. The size of the whole solar system diminished with an astonishing rapidity as the height of our viewpoint increased, tenfold each time.

As we continue in this way, our nearest neighbor stars are drawn into the picture, and before we know it we have passed right out of the Milky Way, our galaxy, and see it from the outside. As we go on in ever more stupendous jumps our whole galaxy in turn shrinks and shrinks, until finally it becomes a small spot, and we gaze through the numberless universes which are beyond and which look like a cloud of tiny specks of light.

The question then arises: What should we see if, instead of decreasing the scale, we should increase it tenfold each time? To find this out, we first go back to the original picture of the little girl sitting in front of the school, and then we begin a second journey of exploration, which proves to be as full of marvels as the first, and which will be shown in the second half of this picture story.

This content is from Kees Boeke's book, Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps. It has been placed online without permission.
Copyright (C) 1957 by Kees Boeke. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted, or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photo-copying and recording, or in any information storage and retrieval system, without permission.