Scales of Measurement Version 1.7

This is a copy of the scales of measurement list that I have been making. Thanks to the many people who gave me suggestions about earlier versions.

I would be grateful for factual and grammar corrections. I would also like to know if people have specific objects that they think should be included in these scales. I am interested in objects which do the following things:

   A. Illustrate a physical principle (for example, the Compton length as
      a basic quantum "fuzziness" length)

   B. Are particularly fantastic (for example, the LIGO project wants to
      look for length fluctuations smaller than a nuclear diameter)

   C. Fill in holes in my order-of-magnitude scale

   D. Are especially interesting for some other reason

I would be grateful for suggestions as to how to better word specific entries so as to make them maximally illuminating in the available space. Please send any comments/suggestions/corrections to me via email.

An XMOSAIC page has been created for my timelines and scales of measurement list. The URL is the following:

    http://www.astro.psu.edu/users/niel/scales/scales.html

If you are not able to obtain one of my lists via XMOSAIC or usenet, please send me an email request and I will email you the list you want. Please specify desired format (ASCII or TEX).

Thank you,

Niel Brandt
niel@ast.cam.ac.uk

This document is copyright Niel Brandt 1994. You are allowed to copy, distribute, and edit this document at will without any obligation as long as you do not remove the above header. Reproduction and distribution for personal profit is not permitted.


SCALES OF MEASUREMENT VERSION 1.7

William Nielsen Brandt --- niel@ast.cam.ac.uk

3 x 10-6

arcseconds

Angular size of a 108 solar mass Schwarzschild black hole in M31

0.0002

arcseconds

Typical VLBA resolution at 43 GHz

0.0005

arcseconds

Person on the Moon

0.001

arcseconds

Typical VLBI resolution

0.0015

arcseconds

Hipparcos satellite astrometric positional accuracy

0.04

arcseconds

Hubble Space Telescope FOC optical angular resolution

0.1

arcseconds

VLA largest configuration resolution at 23 GHz

0.1

arcseconds

Hubble Space Telescope WFC optical angular resolution

0.15

arcseconds

1 meter optical reflector yellow light diffraction limit

0.5

arcseconds

WHT MARTINI guide star system resolution

0.6

arcseconds

Rough optical telescope atmospheric seeing limit

0.8

arcseconds

Angular diameter of Europa

1

arcseconds

AXAF X-ray satellite angular resolution goal

1.32

arcseconds

Yearly proper motion of Sirius

1.75

arcseconds

Gravitational deflection of a light ray which grazes the Sun

2.9

arcseconds

Angular diameter of a M31 sized galaxy at z=0.5 in optical light

5

arcseconds

ROSAT X-ray satellite HRI angular resolution

8

arcseconds

Angular separation of the gravitationally lensed quasar 0957+561

25

arcseconds

ROSAT X-ray satellite PSPC angular resolution

36

arcseconds

Angular diameter of Jupiter

120

arcseconds

Human eye resolution

120

arcseconds

Typical optical telescope field of view

150

arcseconds

Rough Crab Nebula radius

210

arcseconds

Rough Cir X-1 radio nebula radius

400

arcseconds

Cluster imprint on the cosmic microwave background radiation

480

arcseconds

OVRO 5.5 meter 32 GHz telescope resolution

700

arcseconds

Jodrell bank 250 foot 1420.4 MHz telescope resolution

1200

arcseconds

ROSAT X-ray satellite HRI field of view radius

1500

arcseconds

ASCA X-ray satellite GIS field of view radius

1865

arcseconds

Angular diameter of the Moon at its mean distance

1800

arcseconds

100 Mpc structure imprint on the cosmic microwave background radiation

1922

arcseconds

Angular diameter of the Sun at its mean distance

3100

arcseconds

Maximum angular scale of causal connection on the cosmic microwave background radiation

3600

arcseconds

ROSAT X-ray satellite PSPC field of view radius

7500

arcseconds

Angular diameter of W50

10800

arcseconds

Angular diameter of the LMC

14400

arcseconds

Angular diameter of M31 in optical light

19800

arcseconds

Palomar Optical Sky Survey plate field of view

25200

arcseconds

COBE DMR resolution limit

5 x 10-44

seconds

Planck-Wheeler time

4 x 10-24

seconds

Typical lifetime of strong interaction resonance

8 x 10-21

seconds

Electron light crossing time

1 x 10-13

seconds

Typical period of vibration of an atom in a solid

1 x 10-13

seconds

Typical X-ray line electric dipole radiative transition time

1.6 x 10-9

seconds

Typical hydrogen 2p ---> 1s radiative transition time (electric dipole one photon process)

8 x 10-4

seconds

Mass shedding minimum spin period for a neutron star

1.6 x 10-3

seconds

Spin period of PSR 1957+20

0.12

seconds

Typical hydrogen 2s ---> 1s radiative transition time (strictly forbidden two photon process)

10

seconds

Median duration of a classical gamma-ray burst

2 000

seconds

Sun dynamic time scale

8.6 x 104

seconds

Earth rotation time

3.2 x 107

seconds

Earth orbit time around the Sun

1.6 x 109

seconds

Typical time between Milky Way supernovae

1.9 x 1011

seconds

Carbon-14 half-life

3 x 1012

seconds

Rough lifetime of a supernova remnant

1.5 x 1013

seconds

Typical HMXB evolution time

3 x 1013

seconds

Rough time for evolution of a biological species

1.6 x 1014

seconds

Main sequence lifetime for a 30 solar mass star

3 x 1014

seconds

Hydrogen 21 cm spin flip time

3 x 1014

seconds

Rough Lyapunov time of the solar system

6.3 x 1014

seconds

Sun thermal time scale

1.3 x 1015

seconds

E-folding time for a black hole accreting at the Eddington rate with an efficiency of 0.1

1.9 x 1015

seconds

Main sequence lifetime for a 5 solar mass star

2 x 1015

seconds

Timescale for Los Angeles to pass San Francisco via continental drift

2.4 x 1015

seconds

Typical LMXB evolution time

7.3 x 1015

seconds

Orbit time for sun around galaxy center

1.1 x 1016

seconds

PSR 1913+16 orbital gravitational radiation coalescence timescale

2 x 1016

seconds

Rough supernova biological extinction time

6 x 1016

seconds

Minimum age of PSR J0437-4715

6 x 1016

seconds

Time for galaxy to cross a cluster

1.1 x 1017

seconds

Primeval slime to man time

1.5 x 1017

seconds

Age of Earth and Sun

1.5 x 1017

seconds

Uranium-238 half-life

2.7 x 1017

seconds

Look back time to z=1

3 x 1017

seconds

Main sequence lifetime for a 1 solar mass star

3.3 x 1017

seconds

Look back time to z=2

3.3 x 1017

seconds

Sun nuclear time scale

3.7 x 1017

seconds

Look back time to z=4

3.8 x 1017

seconds

Rough age of the Milky Way

3.8 x 1017

seconds

Look back time to the z=4.897 quasar PC 1247+3406

4 x 1017

seconds

Rough age of 47 Tucanae (an old globular cluster)

4.1 x 1017

seconds

Age of the universe

2.5 x 1018

seconds

Globular cluster evaporation time

3 x 1025

seconds

Galaxy dynamical relaxation timescale

3 x 1027

seconds

Earth/Sun orbital gravitational radiation coalescence timescale

1 x 1039

seconds

Lower limit on the proton lifetime

4.7 x 1073

seconds

1 solar mass black hole Hawking evaporation time

1.6 x 10-35

meters

Planck-Wheeler length

2 x 10-35

meters

Rough postulated superstring size

1 x 10-24

meters

Effective 1 MeV neutrino radius

1.6 x 10-22

meters

Radius of a 10 solar mass star squeezed down to the Planck-Wheeler density

1.5 x 10-18

meters

Classical proton radius

1.6 x 10-17

meters

W +/- Compton wavelength = rough weak force length

4 x 10-17

meters

LIGO 4 km gravity-wave detector needed sensitivity

1.3 x 10-15

meters

Proton Compton wavelength = rough proton fuzziness length

1.44 x 10-15

meters

Rough nuclear radius

2.8 x 10-15

meters

Classical electron radius

8.8 x 10-15

meters

Pi-meson Compton wavelength = attractive strong force length

1.2 x 10-12

meters

1 MeV gamma-ray wavelength

2.4 x 10-12

meters

Electron Compton wavelength = rough electron fuzziness length

5.3 x 10-11

meters

Bohr radius

2.6 x 10-10

meters

Copper atom spacing in solid copper

3.5 x 10-10

meters

H2O molecular diameter

4 x 10-10

meters

ROSAT X-ray satellite mirror rms surface error

1.2 x 10-9

meters

1 keV X-ray wavelength

3 x 10-9

meters

Typical mean nucleon spacing during primordial nucleosynthesis

3.4 x 10-9

meters

DNA double helix turn length

6 x 10-8

meters

Typical rms surface error of a Keck telescope mirror

7.0 x 10-8

meters

Molecular mean free path in the atmosphere

1 x 10-7

meters

Typical size of a virus

3 x 10-7

meters

Interstellar dust grain size

5 x 10-7

meters

Optical photon wavelength

4 x 10-6

meters

Typical size of a cell

2 x 10-4

meters

Small dust particle size

0.03

meters

Lunar laser ranging accuracy (Science 265, 482)

0.068

meters

Unraveled human DNA strand length

1.8

meters

Man

30

meters

Blue Whale

3700

meters

Mean ocean depth

4000

meters

Error in our knowledge of the distance to Jupiter

5500

meters

Rough radius of Halley's comet

8847

meters

Height of Mount Everest

10000

meters

Neutron star radius

10000

meters

Typical asteroid radius

10000

meters

Typical comet radius

11032

meters

Depth of the Mariana Trench

12000

meters

Height of troposphere

12000

meters

Typical airliner cruising altitute

30000

meters

Typical thickness of the Earth's crust

5.5 x 105

meters

Height of the ASCA X-ray satellite orbit

9 x 105

meters

Height of the COBE satellite orbit

3.2 x 106

meters

Length of the Great Wall of China

6.3 x 106

meters

Radius of the Earth

4.2 x 107

meters

Geostationary satellite orbit height

7.1 x 107

meters

Radius of Jupiter

9 x 107

meters

Distance to the Earth's solar wind bow shock

3.8 x 108

meters

Distance to the Moon

7.0 x 108

meters

Radius of the Sun

1 x 109

meters

Typical X-ray binary accretion disk circularization radius

1.7 x 109

meters

5 solar mass star main sequence radius

7 x 109

meters

Typical standoff radius of Jupiter's solar wind bow shock

1.47 x 1011

meters

Event horizon radius for a 108 solar mass maximally rotating Kerr black hole

1.50 x 1011

meters

Earth/Sun mean distance

1.5 x 1011

meters

Radius of the red giant Mira at minimum light

3 x 1011

meters

Radius of the red giant Mira at maximum light

5 x 1011

meters

Radius of the 20 solar mass red supergiant Betelgeuse at maximum light

5.91 x 1012

meters

Pluto/Sun mean distance

1.5 x 1013

meters

Expected distance to the solar wind termination shock

2 x 1014

meters

Rough stellar separation in the central parsec of the Milky Way

4 x 1014

meters

Rough stellar separation in a globular cluster

2 x 1015

meters

Rough Oort Cloud/Sun distance

3 x 1015

meters

Seyfert galaxy characteristic broad line region radius

9.46 x 1015

meters

1 light-year

3.08 x 1016

meters

1 parsec

4 x 1016

meters

Nearest nonsolar star to Earth

4.5 x 1016

meters

Rough Crab Nebula radius

3 x 1017

meters

Rough Cir X-1 radio nebula radius

3 x 1017

meters

Rough supernova biological extinction distance

5 x 1017

meters

Typical interstellar medium cloud size

1.4 x 1018

meters

Hyades open cluster distance

1.5 x 1018

meters

Trigonometric parallax distance determination limit

1.5 x 1018

meters

Typical globular cluster radius

2 x 1018

meters

Rough radius of the local interstellar hot gas bubble

5 x 1018

meters

Seyfert galaxy characteristic narrow line region radius

5 x 1018

meters

Diameter of W50

5.2 x 1018

meters

Distance to the 20 solar mass red supergiant Betelgeuse (will go supernova within 10000 years)

6 x 1019

meters

Typical dwarf galaxy radius

6.6 x 1019

meters

Distance to the Crab Nebula

1.2 x 1020

meters

Milky Way characteristic thickness

2 x 1020

meters

Estimated distance to Cir X-1

2.4 x 1020

meters

Distance from Sun to galactic center

3.9 x 1020

meters

Milky Way disk radius

1.5 x 1021

meters

Distance to the LMC

2 x 1021

meters

Rough Milky Way dark matter halo radius

1 x 1022

meters

Typical active galaxy jet length

1 x 1022

meters

Length of the "superantennae" of IRAS 19254-7245

1.9 x 1022

meters

Distance to M31

3 x 1022

meters

Radius of the core of the Virgo cluster of galaxies

4 x 1022

meters

Rough Local Group radius

9.2 x 1022

meters

Cepheid variable distance determination limit (via ground observations)

1.2 x 1023

meters

Distance to the Circinus galaxy

5 x 1023

meters

Rough boundary between the nonlinear and linear gravitational collapse regimes

7 x 1023

meters

Distance to NGC 1068

7 x 1023

meters

Distance to the center of the Virgo cluster of galaxies

2.3 x 1024

meters

Shapley supercluster radius

3 x 1024

meters

Typical length scale probed by the Harvard/Smithsonian CfA redshift survey

4.1 x 1024

meters

Luminosity distance to the z=0.022 Coma cluster of galaxies

1.5 x 1025

meters

Typical length scale probed by the Lick survey

3.0 x 1025

meters

Luminosity distance to the z=0.158 quasar 3C273

3 x 1025

meters

Typical length scale probed by the 4C radio galaxy survey

3 x 1025

meters

Schwarzschild radius of a singularity with the mass of a critical density universe

5.5 x 1026

meters

Luminosity distance to the z=2.286 ultraluminous IRAS galaxy IRAS F10214+4724

1.3 x 1027

meters

Luminosity distance to the z=4.897 quasar PC 1247+3406

1 x 10-9

m s-1

Sea floor spreading rate

1.6 x 10-9

m s-1

Average slip rate of the San Andreas fault

1 x 10-8

m s-1

Typical rainfall rate in a semi-arid climate

2 x 10-8

m s-1

Grass growth rate

3 x 10-6

m s-1

Typical glacial advance rate

1 x 10-3

m s-1

Equivalent radial velocity resolution of pulsar pulse arrival time analysis

1.3

m s-1

Human walking speed

10

m s-1

Speed of the motion induced on the Sun by Jupiter

10

m s-1

Radial velocity resolution of high precision Doppler spectroscopy

25

m s-1

Car speed

100

m s-1

Typical speed of an electric pulse in the nervous system

330

m s-1

Sound speed in air

480

m s-1

Earth's atmosphere molecular rms velocity

600

m s-1

Fighter jet speed

2380

m s-1

Escape velocity from Moon's surface

10000

m s-1

Typical longitudinal seismic wave velocity in the Earth's mantle

11000

m s-1

Escape velocity from the Earth's surface

20000

m s-1

Globular cluster stellar velocity dispersion

29000

m s-1

Earth's motion around the Sun

40000

m s-1

Globular cluster stellar escape velocity

1 x 105

m s-1

Typical Galactic pulsar vertical velocity component

1 x 105

m s-1

Average speed of the initial stroke of a lightning flash

2.2 x 105

m s-1

Rotational velocity of the Sun around the Milky Way's center

3 x 105

m s-1

Orbital speed of PSR 1913+16

3 x 105

m s-1

Rough velocity of Geminga's proper motion

3.1 x 105

m s-1

Escape velocity from the Milky Way for objects in the solar neighborhood

3.65 x 105

m s-1

Motion of the solar system barycenter relative to the cosmic microwave background

4.1 x 105

m s-1

Orbital speed of Cen X-3

6.2 x 105

m s-1

Escape velocity from the Sun's surface

6.22 x 105

m s-1

Motion of the Local Group relative to the cosmic microwave background

8 x 105

m s-1

Typical galaxy cluster galaxy velocity dispersion

2 x 106

m s-1

Speed of n=1 hydrogen electron

5 x 106

m s-1

Young (months old) supernova ejecta

1.2 x 107

m s-1

Velocity of the wind streaming out from H1413+117 "Cloverleaf" (Nature 371, 559)

7.8 x 107

m s-1

SS433 jet speed

1.4 x 108

m s-1

Keplerian orbital velocity at the surface of a neutron star

2 x 108

m s-1

Escape velocity from neutron star surface

2.998 x 108

m s-1

Light in a vacuum

4.2 x 10-36

kilograms

Mass equivalent of a green light photon

1.4 x 10-35

kilograms

Electron antineutrino upper mass limit

4.4 x 10-31

kilograms

Muon neutrino upper mass limit

9.11 x 10-31

kilograms

Electron mass

6.2 x 10-29

kilograms

Tauon neutrino upper mass limit

1.67 x 10-27

kilograms

Proton mass

9 x 10-27

kilograms

Bottom quark mass

4.8 x 10-26

kilograms

Mean mass of atmosphere molecule

1.4 x 10-25

kilograms

W +/- mass (82 GeV)

1.6 x 10-25

kilograms

Z0 mass (93 GeV)

2 x 10-25

kilograms

Favored Higgs boson mass

3 x 10-25

kilograms

Most probable top quark mass

4 x 10-25

kilograms

DNA nucleotide

1 x 10-22

kilograms

Typical protein molecule mass

5 x 10-21

kilograms

E. Coli ribosome

1 x 10-16

kilograms

Interstellar dust grain mass

8 x 10-15

kilograms

Rough mass of a human DNA molecule

7 x 10-13

kilograms

Typical mass of a cell

2.2 x 10-8

kilograms

Planck-Wheeler mass

1 x 10-5

kilograms

Typical mosquito mass

0.02

kilograms

Typical goldfish mass

70

kilograms

Typical human mass

70

kilograms

Lower limit to the allowed mass for a Sumo wrestler

100

kilograms

Meteorite mass before entry into Earth's atmosphere

420

kilograms

ASCA X-ray satellite mass

900

kilograms

Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory satellite mass

1000

kilograms

Car

2200

kilograms

ISO infrared satellite mass at launch

10000

kilograms

Tyrannosaurus Rex

5 x 1011

kilograms

Initial mass of a primordial black hole with evaporation time equal to the universe's age

1 x 1013

kilograms

Typical comet mass

3 x 1014

kilograms

Typical mountain mass

1.1 x 1016

kilograms

Superterranean biomass of Earth (ocean organisms are included)

5.3 x 1018

kilograms

Total mass of Earth's atmosphere

3 x 1019

kilograms

Typical asteroid mass

1.4 x 1021

kilograms

Total mass of Earth's oceans

4.8 x 1022

kilograms

Mass of Europa

7.3 x 1022

kilograms

Mass of the Moon

2 x 1024

kilograms

Rough Oort cloud mass

5.98 x 1024

kilograms

Mass of the Earth

1.9 x 1027

kilograms

Mass of Jupiter

1.6 x 1029

kilograms

Minimum mass to fusion burn hydrogen

4 x 1029

kilograms

Rough mass of MACHO and EROS microlensing objects

1.99 x 1030

kilograms

Mass of the Sun

2.8 x 1030

kilograms

Chandrasekhar mass (maximum mass for a white dwarf)

6.0 x 1030

kilograms

Oppenheimer-Volkoff mass (maximum mass for a neutron star)

1.2 x 1031

kilograms

Minimum mass of the unseen object in GS2023+338/V404 Cygni

4 x 1031

kilograms

Rough stellar mass above which the evolutionary endpoint is a black hole

1.0 x 1032

kilograms

Mass of the most massive member of Plaskett's star

1.2 x 1032

kilograms

Rough mass at which a star becomes unstable to pulsations

2 x 1033

kilograms

Typical interstellar cloud mass

1 x 1036

kilograms

Typical mass of a globular cluster

6 x 1036

kilograms

Best guess for the mass of a possible Milky Way central black hole

1 x 1037

kilograms

Rough baryonic Jeans mass immediately after decoupling

4 x 1039

kilograms

Rough mass of the SMC

2 x 1040

kilograms

Rough mass of the LMC

7 x 1041

kilograms

Rough mass of the Milky Way (visible and dark matter)

1.3 x 1044

kilograms

Rough mass of the stars in the Coma galaxy cluster

6.4 x 1044

kilograms

Rough mass of the X-ray gas in the Coma galaxy cluster

2.7 x 1045

kilograms

Rough virial mass of the Coma galaxy cluster

6 x 1045

kilograms

Rough virial mass of the Abell 2163 galaxy cluster

2 x 1048

kilograms

Rough baryonic Jeans mass immediately before decoupling

1.4 x 1049

kilograms

Rough total mass in spiral galaxies

2 x 1049

kilograms

Rough total (baryonic and nonbaryonic) mass in galaxy clusters

3 x 1049

kilograms

Rough total mass in elliptical and spheroidal galaxies

8 x 1049

kilograms

Rough total mass of visible matter in the universe

1 x 1051

kilograms

Rough total baryon mass predicted by primordial nucleosynthesis

2 x 1052

kilograms

Rough total mass of a critical density universe

2 x 10-38

kg m-3

Effective density of the 100-300 MHz radio background

1 x 10-35

kg m-3

Effective density of the 1--10 MeV gamma-ray background

8 x 10-35

kg m-3

Effective density of the 2--100 keV X-ray background

1.1 x 10-33

kg m-3

Upper limit to the effective density of the gravitational wave background

1 x 10-32

kg m-3

Effective density of the starlight released in a Hubble time

4.6 x 10-31

kg m-3

Effective density of the cosmic microwave background radiation

2 x 10-29

kg m-3

Smoothed density of visible galactic material throughout universe

2 x 10-28

kg m-3

Smoothed baryon density predicted by primordial nucleosynthesis

4.7 x 10-27

kg m-3

Critical density of the universe

2 x 10-24

kg m-3

Typical gas in a cluster of galaxies

3 x 10-21

kg m-3

Typical gas in the interstellar medium of the Milky Way

7 x 10-21

kg m-3

Dynamically inferred Milky Way disk density

5 x 10-20

kg m-3

Typical density of the gas in the central kiloparsec of an interacting or starburst galaxy

1 x 10-9

kg m-3

Best room temperature vacuum achieved on Earth

1.7 x 10-4

kg m-3

Mean density of Antares (19 solar masses)

1.3

kg m-3

Density of air

700

kg m-3

Mean density of Saturn

1000

kg m-3

Density of water

1300

kg m-3

Mean density of Jupiter

1400

kg m-3

Mean density of the Sun

3300

kg m-3

Mean density of the Moon

5500

kg m-3

Mean density of the Earth

7860

kg m-3

Density of iron

19300

kg m-3

Density of gold

5 x 107

kg m-3

Typical white dwarf mean density

3 x 1010

kg m-3

Typical white dwarf central density

1.1 x 1012

kg m-3

Inverse beta decay threshold

4.3 x 1014

kg m-3

Neutron drip density

6 x 1017

kg m-3

Nuclear density

1 x 1018

kg m-3

Typical neutron star central density

5 x 1096

kg m-3

Planck-Wheeler density, at which quantum gravitational effects become important

6 x 10-25

joules

Lamb-Retherford shift

9.5 x 10-25

joules

21.049 cm photon---hyperfine shift

4 x 10-22

joules

Molecular rotation transition

4 x 10-21

joules

kTroom = translational kinetic energy of atmosphere gas molecule

7 x 10-21

joules

Donor level/conduction band gap in a doped semiconductor

3 x 10-20

joules

Molecular vibration transition

1.6 x 10-19

joules

Valence band/conduction band gap in a semiconductor

2.2 x 10-19

joules

Bond energy of an organic substance with half-life 30000 years

3.8 x 10-19

joules

Green light photon

9 x 10-19

joules

Valence band/conduction band gap in an insulator

1.1 x 10-18

joules

Fermi energy in copper = depth of Fermi sea

1.1 x 10-18

joules

Positronium ionization energy

2.2 x 10-18

joules

Hydrogen n=1 binding energy

1.6 x 10-16

joules

1 keV X-ray

1.5 x 10-15

joules

Hydrogenic iron n=1 binding energy

8.18 x 10-14

joules

Electron rest mass

1.6 x 10-13

joules

1 MeV gamma-ray

1.6 x 10-13 (Z1 x Z2) joules

Coulomb barrier height

1.3 x 10-12 joules Nucleon binding energy

4.3 x 10-12

joules

Energy from 4 x 1 H ---> 4 He

1.50 x 10-10

joules

Proton rest mass

1.6 x 10-7

joules

Particle kinetic energy in a 1 TeV accelerator

10

joules

Well hit tennis ball

51

joules

Fly's Eye most energetic cosmic ray event

2 x 105

joules

Energy from a light bulb burning for 1 hour

4.2 x 109

joules

Explosion energy of 1 ton of TNT

2 x 1010

joules

Rough energy of a lightning flash

2 x 1011

joules

Rough human total energy output in a lifetime

1.5 x 1014

joules

Typical atomic bomb explosion energy

6 x 1016

joules

Tunguska 50 m diameter meteorite impact energy

1 x 1017

joules

Powerful H-bomb explosion energy

3 x 1017

joules

Elastic wave energy release from a large (M=8.5) earthquake

5 x 1017

joules

Explosion energy of Krakatoa

3 x 1018

joules

Superman flying at 70 per cent of light speed

9 x 1018

joules

USA electricity usage in 1986

5 x 1019

joules

Rough explosion energy of the Lake Toba eruption in Sumatra

4 x 1023

joules

K-T 10 km diameter meteorite impact energy

2.5 x 1022

joules

Energy from the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fragment G impact on Jupiter

1 x 1024

joules

Power released by an evaporating black hole during the last second of its life

2.1 x 1029

joules

The Earth's rotational energy

3 x 1031

joules

The Earth's total heat content

7 x 1034

joules

Total rotational energy of the planets

2.5 x 1035

joules

Rotational energy of the Sun

3 x 1036

joules

Gravitational internal binding energy of Jupiter

6 x 1037

joules

Nova Persei outburst

3 x 1041

joules

A 450 km s-1 neutron star kick

3 x 1043

joules

Energy needed to make the local superbubble

1.3 x 1044

joules

Total radiant energy from the Sun

3 x 1044

joules

Energy in photons from a type II supernova explosion

3 x 1046

joules

Energy in neutrinos from a type II supernova explosion

2 x 1053

joules

Typical gravitational binding energy of a galaxy

2 x 1054

joules

Typical magnetic and kinetic energy in a large radio lobe (Shu 311)

5.2 x 1054

joules

Rotational energy of a 108 solar mass maximal Kerr black hole

5 x 1057

joules

Typical gravitational binding energy of a cluster of galaxies

2 x 107

joules kg-1

Efficiency of the metabolism of food

1.3 x 1013

joules kg-1

Efficiency of dropping matter onto a white dwarf

6.3 x 1014

joules kg-1

Efficiency of fusion burning hydrogen

5.1 x 1015

joules kg-1

Slowly spiraling accretion onto a Schwarzschild black hole

7.5 x 1015

joules kg-1

Shakura-Sunyaev efficiency for accretion onto a Newtonian "black hole"

8 x 1015

joules kg-1

Efficiency of dropping matter onto a neutron star

2.6 x 1016

joules kg-1

Slowly spiraling prograde accretion onto a realistically maximally rotating Kerr black hole

3.8 x 1016

joules kg-1

Slowly spiraling prograde accretion onto a theoretically maximally rotating Kerr black hole

8.99 x 1016

joules kg-1

Efficiency of matter-antimatter annihilation

4 x 10-6

watts

Average energy output from 1 kilogram of the Milky Way

1 x 10-3

watts

Optical disc player laser

6

watts

Amateur short wave radio transmitter

60

watts

Light bulb

100

watts

Gravitational wave power from the Earth-Sun system

150

watts

Human being under normal conditions

750

watts

Maximum long duration horse output

1500

watts

Typical fireplace fire

20000

watts

Car

1 x 105

watts

Running Tyrannosaurus Rex

3 x 108

watts

Nuclear power reactor

3 x 108

watts

Moderate thunderstorm electrical power generation rate

1.3 x 109

watts

Hoover dam

3 x 1011

watts

USA average electricity usage rate in 1986

1 x 1013

watts

Solar radio luminosity

8 x 1013

watts

Powerful nanosecond pulse laser

1.7 x 1017

watts

Insolation of Earth

1 x 1023

watts

Typical white dwarf luminosity

8 x 1024

watts

Gravitational wave radiation from PSR 1913+16

3.9 x 1026

watts

Solar luminosity

5 x 1026

watts

The 2--10 keV flux of the cataclysmic variable FO Aquarii

1 x 1028

watts

Typical X-ray luminosity of an X-ray pulsar

1 x 1028

watts

X-ray luminosity associated with Sgr A*

3.5 x 1028

watts

Rotational energy loss rate from the Geminga pulsar

2.4 x 1029

watts

5 solar mass star on main sequence

4 x 1030

watts

Cygnus X-1 X-ray luminosity

5.5 x 1030

watts

Luminosity of the 20 solar mass red supergiant Betelgeuse at maximum light

1 x 1031

watts

Crab Nebula energy output

2 x 1031

watts

Eddington limit for a 1.4 solar mass neutron star

3 x 1031

watts

Typical luminosity of Cir X-1 in zero phase

1 x 1033

watts

Rough luminosity of Eta Carinae in April 1843

5 x 1035

watts

Type II supernova peak photon luminosity

3 x 1036

watts

Milky Way

1.5 x 1038

watts

Coma cluster X-ray gas luminosity

1 x 1039

watts

108 solar mass black hole accreting at 1/10 of the Eddington limit

1 x 1039

watts

Typical quasar luminosity

1 x 1040

watts

Rough luminosity of the quasar 3C273

2 x 1041

watts

Rough luminosity of the z=2.286 ultraluminous IRAS galaxy IRAS F10214+4724

1 x 1042

watts

Rough luminosity of a cosmological gamma-ray burst

7 x 10-7

kelvins

Laser cooling of cesium atoms

1.3 x 10-5

kelvins

Cosmic microwave background quadrupole anisotropy

5 x 10-4

kelvins

Typical Sunyaev-Zel'dovich cosmic microwave background decrement

3.3 x 10-3

kelvins

Cosmic microwave background dipole anisotropy

0.01

kelvins

Typical limit of liquid helium dilution cooling

0.3

kelvins

Typical limit of liquid helium evaporation cooling

2.17

kelvins

Liquid 4 He superfluid transition temperature

2.726

kelvins

Cosmic microwave background temperature today

3.20

kelvins

Liquid 3 He boiling point

4

kelvins

Typical limit of Joule-Thomson effect cooling

4.18

kelvins

Liquid 4 He boiling point

6

kelvins

Typical noise temperature of a HEMT receiver at 30 GHz

12

kelvins

Lanthanum (under pressure) superconductivity critical temperature (highest for a pure element)

20

kelvins

Liquid H2 boiling temperature

77

kelvins

Liquid N2 boiling temperature

133

kelvins

Mercury-barium-calcium-copper oxide compound superconductivity critical temperature

273

kelvins

Water freezing temperature

311

kelvins

Human surface temperature

373

kelvins

Water boiling temperature

388

kelvins

Brimstone melting temperature---upper limit to the temperature of Hell

506

kelvins

Paper burning temperature

740

kelvins

Typical surface temperature of Venus

1811

kelvins

Melting temperature of iron

3000

kelvins

Cosmic microwave background temperature at decoupling

5770

kelvins

Solar effective temperature

5 x 105

kelvins

Surface temperature of the Geminga pulsar

3 x 106

kelvins

Polar cap temperature of the Geminga pulsar

3 x 106

kelvins

Typical fusion experiment

1.4 x 107

kelvins

Center of the Sun

1.5 x 107

kelvins

Changeover temperature from the proton-proton chain to the CNO cycle

2.7 x 107

kelvins

Center of a 5 solar mass star

5 x 107

kelvins

Typical gas temperature in a cluster of galaxies

1 x 108

kelvins

Typical cataclysmic variable accretion column shock temperature

3 x 108

kelvins

Center of a supernova

4 x 108

kelvins

Characteristic temperature for electron-positron pair production

4 x 108

kelvins

Minimum primordial nucleosynthesis temperature

5 x 108

kelvins

Inner accretion disc temperature of Cyg X-1

7 x 108

kelvins

Thermal electrons become relativistic

1 x 109

kelvins

Maximum primordial nucleosynthesis temperature

1 x 109

kelvins

Rough superconductivity critical temperature in a neutron star

1 x 1010

kelvins

Rough plasma pair catastrophe temperature

3 x 1015

kelvins

Rough electroweak unification temperature

7 x 10-13

N m-2

Typical gas pressure in a cluster of galaxies

5 x 10-12

N m-2

Pressure in the best vacuum achieved on Earth

5 x 10-6

N m-2

Solar radiation pressure at the Earth

1 x 10-5

N m-2

Pressure of a sound wave at the human threshold of hearing

0.2

N m-2

Solar radiation pressure at the surface of the Sun

30

N m-2

Pressure of a sound wave at the human threshold of pain

1 x 104

N m-2

Mean human arterial blood overpressure

1.5 x 104

N m-2

Standing person

1 x 105

N m-2

Typical atmospheric pressure

1.5 x 106

N m-2

High pressure bicycle tire

2 x 107

N m-2

Typical scuba tank pressure

9 x 107

N m-2

Peak pressure of a fist on concrete during a karate strike

1.1 x 108

N m-2

Pressure at the bottom of the Marianas trench

6 x 109

N m-2

Pressure needed for the natural crystalization of diamonds

1 x 1010

N m-2

Conventional high pressure laboratory press

2 x 1011

N m-2

Peak pressure from a diamond anvil pressure cell

5 x 1011

N m-2

Central pressure of the Earth

4 x 1012

N m-2

Central pressure of Jupiter

2 x 1013

N m-2

Radiation pressure at the center of the Sun

2.7 x 1016

N m-2

Central pressure of the Sun

1 x 1023

N m-2

Typical central pressure of a white dwarf

1 x 1034

N m-2

Typical central pressure of a neutron star

1 x 10-12

W m-2

Threshold of hearing (0 dB)

1 x 10-11

W m-2

Rustle of leaves (10 dB)

1 x 10-10

W m-2

Quiet whisper (20 dB)

1 x 10-9

W m-2

Soft music (30 dB)

3 x 10-8

W m-2

Average residence (45 dB)

1 x 10-6

W m-2

Background music (60 dB)

3 x 10-6

W m-2

Ordinary conversation at 0.5 meters (65 dB)

1 x 10-5

W m-2

Busy street traffic (70 dB)

3 x 10-5

W m-2

Typical factory (75 dB)

1 x 10-3

W m-2

Rough boundary of unsafe sound levels (90 dB)

1 x 10-2

W m-2

Lawn mower (100 dB)

1

W m-2

Loud rock music concert (120 dB)

10

W m-2

Threshold of pain (130 dB)

100

W m-2

Jet plane at 30 meters (140 dB)

9.128 x 10-35

kg m2 s-1

Magnitude of the electron spin angular momentum

1.054 x 10-34

kg m2 s-1

Planck angular momentum

3 x 1012

kg m2 s-1

Rough angular momentum of an artificial satellite

5.9 x 1033

kg m2 s-1

Earth rotational angular momentum

1.7 x 1041

kg m2 s-1

Sun rotational angular momentum

3.1 x 1043

kg m2 s-1

Total angular momentum of our solar system

2 x 1055

kg m2 s-1

Angular momentum of the Sun around the center of the Milky Way

4 x 1066

kg m2 s-1

Rough total angular momentum of the Milky Way

1 x 10-12

tesla

Typical magnetic field needed for good radio reception

5 x 10-10

tesla

Typical magnetic field strength in the local interstellar medium

1 x 10-9

tesla

Typical magnetic field strength in a radio lobe

1 x 10-8

tesla

Typical magnetic field strength in the central 300 parsecs of the Milky Way

5 x 10-8

tesla

Magnetic field in the Crab Nebula

1 x 10-7

tesla

Magnetic field in The Arc at the Milky Way center

1 x 10-6

tesla

Typical magnetic field from a hand held cordless phone

3 x 10-5

tesla

Magnetic field at Earth's surface

1 x 10-4

tesla

Magnetic field near Sun's pole

4 x 10-4

tesla

Magnetic field at Jupiter's cloud tops

0.1

tesla

Ap star magnetic field

0.2

tesla

Sunspot magnetic field

1

tesla

Typical medical NMR magnetic field

2

tesla

Magnetic field felt by the electron in a n=1 hydrogen atom

12

tesla

Typical magnetic field used in high resolution NMR spectroscopy

25

tesla

Powerful superconducting/normal hybrid magnet

1 x 108

tesla

Typical single pulsar dipole magnetic field strength

1 x 104

amperes

Peak lightning bolt current

5 x 106

amperes

Current along Io's flux tube

3 x 108

volts

Typical potential difference across a lightning bolt

3 x 106

volts m-1

Electrical discharge field in air with ions

1 x 1012

volts m-1

Typical electric field at the surface of a pulsar

1 x 1019

volts m-1

QED pair production electric field limit

440

bits

Spiegelman monster genome

18000

bits

Qbeta virus genome

32000

bits

Single spaced typed page

6.6 x 105

bits

Uncompressed ASCII version of Lysistrata

4.36 x 106

bits

C. elegans nematode chromosome III --- longest contiguous piece of DNA sequenced

6 x 106

bits

E. Coli genome

6.3 x 106

bits

Uncompressed ASCII version of A Tale of Two Cities

1 x 109

bits

Microcomputer hard drive

2.5 x 109

bits

Twenty volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary on CD-ROM

7 x 109

bits

MACHO project data intake per night

9 x 109

bits

Human genome

8 x 1010

bits

Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectral database

2 x 1011

bits

International Halley watch database

5 x 1011

bits

VCR tape

1 x 1012

bits

Speed reading for 80 years with perfect memory

8.8 x 1012

bits

HST archive size in mid-1994

9 x 1012

bits

VLA FIRST Survey data set

2 x 1013

bits

Digitized new Palomar sky survey

5 x 1013

bits

Sloan Digital Sky Survey 0.4 arcsecond pixel map

8 x 1013

bits

NSF backbone traffic in March 1994

3 x 1016

bits

HDTV for 80 years with perfect memory

200

bits s-1

Typical reading and talking rate

500

bits s-1

Fast speed reading rate

24 000

bits s-1

Hipparcos satellite data acquisition rate

56 000

bits s-1

Typical Internet link

1 x 105

bits s-1

High quality audio

1.4 x 105

bits s-1

HST archive mean growth rate

1 x 107

bits s-1

Xerox Ethernet

1 x 107

bits s-1

HDTV bit rate after compression

4.5 x 107

bits s-1

Internet backbone T3 link

6 x 107

bits s-1

Sloan Digital Sky Survey data acquisition rate

3 x 1010

bits s-1

Soliton optical fiber information transmission rate

2 x 1015

bits s-1

Sexual reproduction genetic information transmission rate

2 x 105

1994 USA dollars

Vancouver liquid mercury mirror telescope

1.5 x 107

1994 USA dollars

Development and construction cost of the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope near Pune, India

2.9 x 107

1994 USA dollars

Total predicted cost of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

5.5 x 107

1994 USA dollars

Development, construction, and launch cost of the Clementine I spacecraft

8.5 x 107

1994 USA dollars

VLBA development and construction cost

9 x 107

1994 USA dollars

Development and construction cost of the Keck telescope

1 x 108

1994 USA dollars

Development and construction cost of the ASCA X-ray satellite

1.5 x 108

1994 USA dollars

Rough cost of a European Ariane rocket launch

2 x 108

1994 USA dollars

Development and construction cost of the VLA

9 x 108

1994 USA dollars

Development, construction, and launch cost of the Magellan probe

9.8 x 108

1994 USA dollars

Development, construction, and launch cost of the Mars Observer spacecraft

1.5 x 109

1994 USA dollars

Planned total cost of the AXAF X-ray mission

1.8 x 109

1994 USA dollars

Amount of food stamp fraud in the USA in 1993

3.5 x 109

1994 USA dollars

Planned total cost of the Cassini spacecraft

3.8 x 109

1994 USA dollars

Microsoft revenue in 1993

1.3 x 1010

1994 USA dollars

Lockheed revenue in 1993

1.4 x 1010

1994 USA dollars

NASA planned 1995 budget

2.8 x 1010

1994 USA dollars

Planned cost for the space station

2.6 x 1011

1994 USA dollars

United States 1994 military spending

2.6 x 1011

1994 USA dollars

United States 1994 predicted defecit

1.3 x 1012

1994 USA dollars

United States 1994 tax receipts

1.5 x 1012

1994 USA dollars

United States 1994 federal government spending

4.4 x 1012

1994 USA dollars

United States 1994 national debt

0.004

Black velvet optical light albedo

0.012 Black cloth optical light albedo

0.04

Halley's comet optical light albedo

0.068 Moon optical light albedo

0.14

Mars optical light albedo

0.40 Earth optical light albedo

0.80

White paper optical light albedo

0.85 Venus optical light albedo

1 x 10-10

pc-3

Space density of X-ray binaries in the Milky Way

5 x 10-7

pc-3

Space density of pulsars in the solar neighborhood

3 x 10-6

pc-3

Space density of cataclysmic variables in the solar neighborhood

0.1

pc-3

Space density of main sequence stars in the solar neighborhood

1 x 10-9

Mpc-3

Ultraluminous IRAS galaxies

1 x 10-9

Mpc-3

Quasars

1 x 10-7

Mpc-3

QSOs

1 x 10-7

Mpc-3

FR II radio galaxies (edge-brightened)

5 x 10-6

Mpc-3

FR I radio galaxies (not edge-brightened)

1 x 10-4

Mpc-3

Seyfert galaxies

0.1

Mpc-3

Field galaxies

0.6

Mpc-3

Group galaxies

-26.8

V

apparent magnitude of the Sun

-12.5

V

apparent magnitude of the full Moon

-1.5

V

apparent magnitude of Sirius

0.1

V

apparent magnitude of the LMC

0.5

V

apparent magnitude of Betelgeuse

3.4

V

apparent magnitude of M31

10.5

V

apparent magnitude of the z=0.00363 Seyfert 2 NGC 1068

11.6

V

apparent magnitude of the z=0.00170 H II region galaxy NGC 5408

12.8

V

apparent magnitude of the z=0.158 quasar 3C273

13.6

V

apparent magnitude of the z=0.0167 Seyfert 1 NGC 7469

15.3

V

apparent magnitude of the z=0.239 quasar PG 0953+414 (ApJ 435, L12)

19.55

V

apparent magnitude of the z=3.67 quasar DHM 0054-284

25.5

V

apparent magnitude of a typical Cepheid in M100 (ApJ 435, L33)

-27.5

MV of the z=0.158 quasar 3C273

-24.1

MV of the z=0.239 quasar PG 0953+414 (ApJ 435, L12)

-21.1

MV of M31

-21.0

MV of a typical Seyfert host galaxy

-19.5

MV limit on the host galaxy of the z=0.239 quasar PG 0953+414 (ApJ 435, L12)

-18.5

MV of the LMC

-6.0

MV of Betelgeuse

4.4

MV of the most luminous star in Alpha Centauri

4.79

MV of the Sun

Note: I assume an inflationary Omega_0=1.0 dust-filled Friedmann-Robertson-Walker universe with H_0=50 km s-1 Mpc-1 = 1.62 x 10-18 s-1 for all calculations. Space densities are given for "here and now."


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Timestamp: Wednesday, 10-Dec-2008 17:11:18 PST
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