The Infinite National Park

The Infinite National Park

The Infinite National Park

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Jan. 28 2011 7:00 AM

The Infinite National Park

Have you ever seen those posters where the picture of something -- say, a Shuttle Orbiter -- is made up of littler pictures? The main picture is divided into a gazillion little squares, and each one of those squares is another picture. It's pretty cool; from a distance the picture looks fine, then up close you can see all the little pictures making it up*.

Not sure what I mean? Then check out this awesome interactive National Park picture put up by National Geographic.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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When you go to that site you see this:

The yellow square defines a "region of interest" which you can move around. When clicked, you get a zoom:

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See? Again, the yellow square, and again when you click, another zoom:

Coooool. Technically, you can keep on doing that forever, but in this case it drops a few levels and then you get a description of one of the component pictures.

This is a pretty nifty way to get people to click around, look at amazing nature photographs, and then actually learn something, too. It really is a lot of fun to click away at the infinite picture, so go ahead and give it a try.

Tip o' the infinite derby to Michael Allen.



* I'm guessing, but I think the way it's done is the big picture is digitally divided into little squares. Each square then has its average color calculated, and matched to a smaller picture with that same average value. Replace each square of the big pic with the corresponding little pic, and voila!