The Big Picture

And by this, I mean really, really big…

This was sent to me by my colleague Christian Reinboth in Germany. This video was created by Mike (Metafis), a retired PC support guy, who has also been kind enough to comment below.

…. It shows a massive zoom (315 times) into the famous Mandelbrot set. The astonishing thing is this (and I am quoting the filmmakers): You would need a monitor 2^316 times the size of a normal one to view the whole of the first frame by the time you get to the last frame. That’s approx 2^176 times the size of the known universe.

Here it is:


  1. #1 uncle noel
    April 28, 2008

    I am absolutely captivated by the M set. If anything were evidence of “intelligent design”, this would be it. I enjoy showing people these beautiful images (I have them on the door to my classroom) and explaining that they weren’t designed by an artist – just a relatively simple equation. And the fact that the overall shape keeps reappearing at smaller scales in the center of mandala-like patterns is mindboggling – the equation seems much too simple to result in such complexity.

  2. #2 T. Bruce McNeely
    April 28, 2008

    It needs a soundtrack – Pink Floyd’s Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, maybe?

  3. #3 thadd
    April 28, 2008

    Pink Floyd? There is only one valid soundtrack for this video.

    Mandelbrot Set by Jonathan Coulton, you can listen free through the link.

  4. #4 WFR
    April 28, 2008

    Wow. This is way better than reality. At the lowest level, how many decimal places in the coordinates do you need to consider in order to evaluate whether a point is in or out?

  5. #5 PZ Myers
    April 28, 2008

    Cosmic, man.

    But you know, you aren’t allowed to show stuff like this unless you bring enough weed for everyone.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    April 28, 2008

    We may need a little more than weed if we are going to contemplate a computer screen 2^176 times larger than the known universe….

  7. #7 laurisa
    April 28, 2008

    so i know this guy…

  8. #8 Thomas
    April 28, 2008

    If you zoom far enough you will see the text “We apologize for the inconvenience” 🙂

  9. #9 Eamon Knight
    April 28, 2008

    Love all the bitty-‘brots you pass on the way down.

    Cool visual effect: after watching those ever-expanding colours for several minutes, now the white comment area seems to be shrinking on me. Bizarre.

    My first serious C program was a Mandelbrot generator, which I wrote on my first PC — a 12MHz 386SX — c. 1989.

  10. #10 Mike
    November 2, 2008

    I’m the guy that made the video. Thanks for all the comments!.
    I’m not a maths student in the USA, I’m just a retired PC support guy from the UK, who loves science and numbers :).

    MIke (metafis)

  11. #11 Mike(Metafis)
    January 22, 2009

    I’ve reproduced my notes on the original vid of this that I posed to youtube.
    for those interested 🙂

    Mandelbrot. Deep zoom. 2^316!. Thats 315 zooms.

    Note. zoom doesnt deviate from the X axis, to save render time.

    First frame doubles in size every second.
    You world need a monitor 2^316 times the size of a normal one to view the whole of the first frame by the time you get to the last frame.
    That’s approx 2^176 times the size of the known universe. Thats just so big you cant comprehend it.
    Done using fractalExtreme.
    Dell D420, dual core,
    2Hrs 30 mins render on the dell d420.
    Sorry about the jerkiness and loss of definition, I had to get it below 100MB. The original avi was 223mb!

    Technical info.
    Program FractalExtreme
    Render time 150 mins. dell d420 dual core 1.2Ghz, 2 Gb ram.
    max iterations 29220
    352bit calculations,
    1,615,000 iterations per second.

    co-ordinates at centre of frame
    REAL -1.865,725,138,512,217,656,771,001,047,8 66,232,180,936,734,191,728,691,192,292,2 84,866,184,925,781,685,537,956,232,149,6 54,472,220,9

    imaginary -0.000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,002,9

    magnification 1.335E+095 !!