Planck - how old is everything?

Last updated: 31 January 2016

I watched Interstellar again, and it got me to thinking about time and space and size and numbers too large to properly comprehend.

I know for certain that the universe is ancient, but we’re talking about numbers so large they can’t easily be understood.

Try around 13.8 billion years.

To help with managing stupidly large numbers at a scale we can handle, physicist Carl Sagan coined the concept of the cosmic calendar - representing the entire history of the universe in the context of a calendar year.

Which is great, but the scale is still hard to comprehend without a visual - so I built one.

It’s a rough and ready visualisation of the cosmic calendar, which will consume several million vertical pixels in the monitor. If nothing else, it highlights the immense periods of nothingness that comprise the bulk of our universe’s history.

At the cosmic calendar-scale, the last 500 years (AKA all the good stuff) of human history fall into the final second of the year.

It’s a lot of scrolling, and a lot of empty screen, but hopefully it makes you feel even smaller and more insignificant…

Built using Google Sheets as a data source, AngularJs driving the front end, HTML/CSS (derr, obviously), and managed using Grunt (probably overkill for such a modest project, but I need to work on my front-end tooling/workflow).

In case you missed the link above, here it is again.