Wow! The universe as far as we currently know…

If you've never seen the start of Contact (the film with Jodie Foster) you're not only missing out on a great film but also a fantastic opening sequence which rolls back from present day earth out beyond out solar system and the milky way, way into the deep darkness of space. The Known Universe does the same but goes as far as we currently know (16.7 billion light years). Its amazing and worth watching in HD at full screen if possible.

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and