One of the best things about being a new parent, in our opinion, is watching your children explore the world. Everything is new and fresh, and they’re always so excited about their discoveries. We, adults, are a bit more jaded and tend to look at the world differently. We think we know and have seen everything that the world has to offer.
Well, let us tell you that these photographs prove otherwise. Whether you’re into exploring the world, reflecting on historical events, or admiring the latest achievements in technology, prepare for your jaw to drop. You may even learn a thing or two. Let’s take a look at some amazing photographs that really put everything into perspective.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Normal commercial planes look big enough already, especially when you’re looking at them from the airport window before boarding. However, we can never take in how large the planes actually are because we have nothing to compare them to. But this picture with people standing underneath just the tail of the airplane can make even the most seasoned traveler feel teeny tiny.
This is the tail of the Airbus A380, which just so happens to be the largest passenger plane in the world. While it has enough room to seat 853 passengers, it usually only holds around 523. The people who are standing in this picture are actually the team of engineers who worked on developing the plane. Very cool!
The Curiosity Rover
It’s a common occurrence these days for the news to show really incredible photographs that have been taken on Mars. These photos were taken by a rover as it bumbled its way across the red planet. These rovers drive across Mars, taking in the territory and tracking the weather. There have been four successful rovers on Mars, including the one pictured here.
This one is Curiosity, and it has been on Mars since August 2012. But we sort of thought that the rover would be smaller. Obviously, there is very little on Mars that can be used as a reference point. You’d be surprised to know that the rover weighs over 2,000 pounds and is the size of a car!
That’s One Big Caterpillar
We’re not just filling the sky and space with large things—we’re also doing it here on the ground too. Meet the Caterpillar 777 dump truck. This baby is 32 feet long, almost 12 feet wide, 16 feet tall, and can carry 100 tons. That is one large dump truck. With a top speed of 40 miles an hour, the dump truck’s tires are almost as tall as a bus.
This is definitely not the sort of vehicle that you would want to stand in front of as it drives slowly towards its destination. So, who would actually need such a large dump truck? Well, the Caterpillar 777 is actually used in open pit mining all over the United States.
Just Keep Digging
Another example of a ridiculously sized machine is the Bagger 288, which is actually one of the largest of its kind in the world. In fact, it is so large that it doesn’t seem like it belongs on this planet. Similar to the Caterpillar 777, the Bagger 288 is used in mining. The machine removes dirt before coal mining in Germany.
It was built in 1978 and took over five years to design and manufacture the parts and then another five years to put together, with its total cost reaching over $100 million! It’s hard to conceptualize just how large this machine actually is. It’s machines like this one that makes you realize how much we humans are impacting the world’s landscape.
Earth’s Gentle Giant
It’s not just manmade machinery that impresses and amazes us with its size. Before humans walked the Earth, there were creatures that would make even large buildings look small. This is a skeleton of an Argentinosaurus, which is the largest dinosaur that ever lived, well that we currently know of.
The skeleton was discovered in 1987 in Argentina. Archaeologists estimate that this dinosaur was 130 feet long and weighed between 50 and 100 tons. We know that’s big, but with nothing to compare it to, the size is incomprehensible. Can you imagine if dinosaurs walked among us today?
Monsters of the Deep
Not quite able to compete with the Argentinosaurus, this blue whale is the largest creature living on Earth. A blue whale is usually around 75 feet long, but some have been known to reach 98 feet! That’s the length of around three busses in a row.
This scale is very hard to comprehend, so it helps to see a large, crowded boat floating next to the whale. Fun fact: A blue whale’s tongue can weigh almost as much as an elephant, and their heart weighs as much as a normal-sized car.
Hi, Nice to Meet You
From the sandy deserts of North Africa to the Middle East, camels have been making their way along trade routes for centuries. Unless you’ve been to the Middle East or North Africa, you’ve most likely never seen a camel in real life. You’d be surprised to know just how large these creatures are.
Seeing this camel next to a human just goes to show how big they are. The Bactrian camel is around 7 feet tall and can weigh between 660 to a whopping 2,200 pounds! Fun fact: Bactrian camels are the only land mammals that drink salt water without getting sick.
More Than Meets the Eye
The statues of Easter Island in the Southeast Pacific Ocean are famous all around the world. They were carved between 1250 and 1500 A.D. These statues are called mo’ai, and their overly-large heads are only three-eights of the size of the entire statue.
Only when you see these statues next to these men do you realize how large these statues actually are? There are 1,000 statues on Easter Island, with the tallest one reaching 33 feet! Fun fact: Archaeologists believe these statues were symbols of authority and power, as well as representation of the ancient Polynesians’ ancestors.
Feeling Small Here
Even before NASA sent the Curiosity Rover or other satellites into space, we’ve known that stars and other planets in our solar system were large. But now we’re able to actually conceptualize just how big. This is a visual representation of how many planet Earths can fit inside the sun.
If you’re interested to know, the answer is one million. Yep. The sun is one million times larger than planet Earth. How crazy is that? Fun fact: The sun is so large that it accounts for 99.86 percent of the mass in our solar system.
As Big as a Bus
No matter where you live in the world, traffic is a problem. Governments around the world try to encourage citizens to use public transportation instead of cars. Just to visualize what a difference public buses make on the road, let’s take a look at this picture.
This is the same amount of people on a bus versus in individual cars. Just look at the difference in space taken up on the highway. If more people took buses, there would definitely be less congestion on the road, making everyone’s commute to work a whole lot faster.
Genghis Khan Was How Tall?
People like to put their leaders on a pedestal, and the Mongolians were no different. This statue of the Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan sits on the roof of a museum near the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. The statue stands at 131 feet, making it one of the tallest statues in the world.
See those small dots on the horse’s mane? Those are people taking in the view of the city. Fun fact: No one knows how the warlord died or where he is buried. Some people say he fell from a horse, while others say that he was wounded by an arrow to the knee.
That’s Halibut of a Catch!
There must be a million photos around the world of people standing next to a giant fish they’ve just caught. All of the pictures are the same. Their faces are beaming with pride and bewilderment as they pose for a photograph. This picture doesn’t seem real, but it is.
In fact, this is a 327-pound halibut caught in Alaska. But this isn’t even the largest halibut caught. Back in 1996, someone caught a 459-pound halibut off the coast of Alaska. We didn’t know halibut were this big. Fun fact: Large halibut eat other fish like herring, cod, and rock fish. They’ve also been known to eat octopus, clams, and crabs.
This Is What?
Moving on from the sea, it’s time to take a look inside one of the most complex places in the world. This is a picture of one of Google’s 19 data centers. Well, there are 19 centers that we know of. Who knows how many there really are?
Now that the world can no longer run without the Internet, more specifically Google, these places are the heart of our knowledge (and activity too). It’s no wonder why these data centers are so large. Fun fact: There are 11 centers in the U.S., five in Europe, two in Asia, and one in South America.
That’s a Housecat?
No, this is not a picture of a kitten laying next to an adult cat, nor is this some perspective trick that’s trying to play with your head. No, this is a Maine Coon laying next to a regular-sized house cat. A Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed.
Main Coons typically grow to be just over three feet long and weigh around 18 pounds. They have great temperaments and are known as gentle giants. Fun fact: Genetic testing shows that Maine Coons were brought over to North America by the Vikings in the 1700s.
Quite the Masterpiece
Michelangelo’s world-famous statue of David sits in Florence at the Galleria dell’Accademia. The marble statue is known all over the world. While many people have seen David in photographs, many people don’t realize how large the statue actually is. In fact, the statue stands at 17 feet tall and weighs six tons!
This is probably why it took 26-year-old Michelangelo two years to carve it. Fun fact: Over eight million visitors a year walk through the Galleria dell’Accademia to get a glimpse of David. However, this foot traffic creates foot vibrations that are similar to little, constant earthquakes that are ruining the marble.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Moving on from Michelangelo’s marvel, we’re taking a look at one of nature’s giants. For those who are unaware, the redwoods in California are gigantic. They grow up to 380 feet tall and have a width of 18 feet. There are three redwood trees that you can actually drive a car through! Fun fact: Redwoods are almost as old as dinosaurs.
The earliest redwoods showed up on Earth shortly after the dinosaurs went extinct and have been around for longer than flowers, birds, and, of course, humans. They’ve been around for 240 million years, to be exact (and 20 million years in California).
Just a Fly on the Wall
We don’t know about you, but when we think about military drones, we think of small plane-sized objects flying around in the sky. But, as it turns out, some of these drones are actually teeny tiny. This is the FLIR Black Hornet. The drone is as small as a cellphone and weighs 33 grams.
This drone is used to take high-quality photographs and videos so that soldiers can take fewer risks on the field. It is used by many militaries around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.
We’re in Twister Country Now
This picture was taken in Dodge City, Kansas, which is also the heart of Tornado Alley. If you look to the left of the tornado, you can see the scale of the tornado. Those small poles are actually winded turbines, which stand at 280 feet.
Most tornados are around 660 feet wide and travel at 30 miles per hour. However, massive tornados have clocked in at 300 miles per hour. Fun fact: While twisters do occur on other continents, North America’s geography makes it especially vulnerable to them. Also, twisters usually only travel around six miles before dying out.
Giants Walk Amongst Us
Everyone knows that basketball players are tall. However, when you see them running on the basketball court, you can’t tell how tall they really are, especially because they’re all around the same height. So, to just understand how tall these athletes are, take a look at this picture.
This is a picture of two WNBA professionals standing next to three students from the University of Kentucky. The girls in the middle are four-feet-ten, while the two basketball players stand at six-feet-three and six-feet-six. Yes, we know the girls in the middle are shorter than average, but this photograph really puts things into perspective.
Taller Than Shaq?
As tall as these basketball players are, they’re short in comparison to the tallest man that ever lived. Born in 1918 in Missouri, Robert Wadlow grew to a whopping eight feet-eleven inches. That’s one tall man! This makes the man standing next to him, seven-feet-one Shaquille O’Neal, look short.
Fun facts: Wadlow was born at eight pounds, seven ounces, which is a normal weight for a newborn. His parents were also of normal height. However, Wadlow had an overactive pituitary gland, which fueled his growth. At five years old, he was already five feet four inches!
The Same Streets
Sometimes we forget how much the world has changed over the course of human existence on this planet. In many cases, the massive change wasn’t even that long ago. The two pictures below are of the same street corner in a small village called Oberdorla in Germany.
However, the one on the top was taken 75 years ago. It shows the G.I.s from the 6th Armored Division while the one on the bottom was taken today. For those who didn’t grow up during World War II, it’s hard to imagine soldiers fighting and tanks rolling through the streets.
And Then There Was One
There was once a time when you needed to own a camera, a video camera, a phone, a computer, a Walkman, a watch, and a pager. There’s no way that anyone would be able to carry all of these things around, so what did we do?
Well, we just walked around without being digitally connected (gasp!). How weird is it to think that just one tiny device contains all of those capabilities (and more)? We really have come a long way. Fun fact: Your smart phone has more computing power than the computers used during the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.
Times Are Changing
Speaking of how far technology has advanced in the past few decades, let’s talk about this picture. For the 1994 launch of the CD-ROM, Bill Gates took a picture of himself next to two massive piles of paper stacked like a tree.
The photograph was meant to show just how much paper (and trees) could be saved by using CD-ROMS. Today, of course, a CD-ROM seems like very old technology. It just goes to show how far humans have advanced. Fun fact: 2014 was the first year that streaming technology outsold CDs.
Through the Years
Sightseeing is one of our favorite things to do while on vacation. It’s really cool to look at historical sites and to imagine what life was like hundreds of years ago. But if you’ve ever been traveling, then you know that many of the old stone buildings are in ruins.
This makes it hard to conceptualize what they looked like in their heyday. Fun fact: You don’t have to leave the country to see ancient ruins. At the Mesa Verde National Park in the American Southwest, there is a collection of 600 ancient clifftop buildings as well as a 150-room palace!
Meeting Mickey Mouse
Oh, how the times have changed. Not only have the tickets for Disneyland become much larger in size, but so have the prices. In 1955, entrance to the park only cost $1! In today’s money, that comes out to just under $10. But if you want to visit the park today, it’ll cost you over $120.
That’s a lot of money for one day at the park. But, hey, anything for the kids. Fun fact: Over 84 million Mickey Mouse ears have been sold since the park opened, making them the most popular Disneyland souvenir of all time.
A Soldier’s Sacrifice
This is another look back at one of the most horrific days of World War II. Today, the Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer beach in Normandy, France, is a favorite beach spot. By looking at it today, you’d never know that this was the spot of the D-Day landings.
The photograph at the top was taken just after the landings. Fun fact: The invasion, which was officially called “Operation Overlord,” was the largest amphibious invasion in history. There were 156,115 soldiers from the United States, Britain, and Canada, as well as 6,939 ships and 2,395 aircrafts.
Looking at the Pyramids Up Close
The Pyramids of Giza are not only the oldest but the last remaining wonder of the original seven wonders of the world. And while they look big in photographs, you don’t realize just how massive (and steep) they are until you see them in person.
But if you can’t make it over to Egypt to see them with your own eyes, just take a look at this picture. Fun fact: Archaeologists aren’t quite sure how the pyramids were built; however, they do believe that every Egyptian citizen helped construct the large structures as an act of civil service.
Quite the Year
While this photograph isn’t as mind-blowing as one of the wonders of the world, it is very interesting. The first photo was taken on this student’s first day of freshman year in college. She looks a bit naive, not knowing what actually awaits her.
The second photograph was taken at the end of the school year. It sure looks like this student had quite the year. Fun fact: Well, this isn’t a fun fact, but it’s interesting. As of 2020, more than 30 percent of college students drop out after their first year of college.
His First and Last
We love it when adults recreate photos from when they were little kids. This cute little guy on the left is about to head off to his first day of first grade. The photograph on the left is of the same guy but on his last day of teacher training.
The photographs were taken 20 years apart, but his facial expression and stance are the same. The soon-to-be teacher’s briefcase, however, is a little more respectable than his old, purple lunchbox. We bet his parents are proud that he went on to become a teacher!
Everyone knows that mountains are big—I mean, it is part of the criteria. But did you know that you can see Mount Fuji from space? This photograph of the snow-capped mountain was taken from the International Space Station. How cool is that?
Fun fact: Mount Fuji in Japan is an active volcano, but its last eruption was in 1707. It is also a sacred mountain for followers of the Shinto religion, who consider the peak to be sacred to the goddess Sengen-Sama. Visitors to the mountain can see several shrines to the goddess at the base, as well as during the ascent.
Melting Away Forever
Now we’re moving onto a comparison photograph that not only shows how times change but how much humans have impacted our environment. This shot is of the same glacier in the Arctic. However, the first photograph was taken in 1917 and the second one in 2020.
It’s one thing to hear about the glaciers melting, but it’s another thing to see it with your own eyes. Scientists say that the Arctic ice is melting at a rate double that of the rest of the world. Fun fact: Glaciers often appear blue because the ice is so dense and free of air bubbles.
Nature as Inspiration
Since nature has spent the past millions of years testing and developing designs and solutions, it only makes sense that designers would look to nature for inspiration. The bird on the top photograph is a peregrine falcon—the fastest and deadliest hunter in the sky.
The photograph on the bottom is the Northrup Grumman B-2 Spirit, which is also known as the Stealth Bomber. Fun fact: The aircraft was designed with a technique called “continuous curvature.” This is used to fool radar systems, as well as the human eye. From one angle, it looks like a flat line, but from another, it looks like a flying torpedo.
No, We’re the Colorblind Ones
Birds are seriously impressive. They can do many things that we can’t, and their eyesight is much more advanced. The picture on the left shows what humans see when they look at a blackbird. The picture on the right shows what birds see.
Their world must be a whole lot more colorful than ours! Fun fact: A bird’s eyesight is very helpful in the wild. They can detect nectar from flowers and even track their prey much easier, thanks to all of the colors they can see. Their eyesight also helps them navigate when they’re migrating for winter.
What’s on the Inside
Generally speaking, sharks are way bigger than dolphins. Many people would then assume that a shark’s brain is bigger than a dolphin’s brain. Those people would be surprised to know that it’s actually the other way around.
This explains why dolphins have a reputation for being smart and intuitive. Fun fact: Bottlenose dolphins are one of the few species that can recognize themselves in a mirror and use tools while hunting. In Australia, dolphins were documented fitting marine sponges over their noses to protect them from sharp rocks as they search for fish.
Two Continents, Same Time
Seeing how long it takes to get to Europe from North America by plane (or boat), it’s safe to assume that the two continents are far apart. However, that’s not exactly the case. In this photograph, a diver is technically touching the two continents at the same time. How can that be?
Well, the diver is at the Silfra crack off the coast of Iceland. This crack is the exact place where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates touch (or don’t, as you can see in the photo). How many people can say they’ve touched two continents simultaneously? We bet not that many.
Look Out Below!
Are you ready for another example of how humans have impacted planet Earth? This photograph was taken in Turkey, where farmers oftentimes use groundwater to water their crops. While this seems like a smart idea at first, it can be problematic.
In fact, this type of irrigation often causes sinkholes. While these sinkholes vary in size and the smaller ones aren’t so problematic, the larger ones are. Some larger sinkholes can be as deep as 490 feet! Looking at how small the people on the left look, this sinkhole is nearing a record for the deepest sinkhole.
The Face of a Traveler
These photographs are taken of the same man, just a year apart. In November 2007, German adventurer and photographer Christoph Rehage began his 3,000 miles walk across China. Rehage took photographs of himself every 20 or 30 miles throughout his 11-month journey. We bet he wanted a shower and a haircut when he finished.
“I remembered being on the road, thinking: Where will I sleep? What will I eat?” he wrote on his website after the journey. “There were no metaphysical questions, no big worries, just pragmatic problems to solve. It felt good, and it felt meaningful.”
The fire has been a human companion for over 2 million years, so we’re sort of used to having it around by now. We’re also used to it looking a certain way. There’s the blue at the bottom near the source of the fire and a long, orange-yellow flame.
However, have you ever wondered what fire would look like without gravity? Well, that’s exactly what the picture on the right shows. There is no yellow flame, but just a wide blue sphere. Fun fact: No gravity means that fresh oxygen can’t reach the flame, and it ultimately goes out.
Welcome to Rubber Mountain
Human waste has been a growing problem, but only recently have we realized that it’s something that needs immediate attention. While recycling is becoming more and more common, there are still many people who don’t pay attention to what they throw away.
At first glance, this picture looks like a huge pile of metal rings. However, this a massive mountain of discarded rubber car tires. Fun fact: In a year in the United States, 246 million tires are thrown away. Most of these tires are burned for fuel, but this produces a lot of pollution.
Bad for Your Health
By now, everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health. We’ve all seen the documentaries, the advertisements, and the warning labels on cigarette packages. But did you know that the effects of smoking can be seen on your interior décor?
Yes, it sounds pretty obvious, but you don’t realize how large of an effect smoke has on your walls and window treatments until you see a side-to-side comparison. These two apartments are the exact same, except for one difference: One tenant is a smoker, while the other one is not. If this is what smoking does to blinds, then just imagine what it does to your body!
Got a Sweet Tooth?
You still haven’t made the switch to Diet Coke? Or, even better yet, water? You will now after seeing this picture. This clever dentist put together a display that shows just how much sugar is in common food and drinks.
There are juice boxes, sports drinks, and even yogurt! That sure is a lot of sugar. So next time you want to guzzle down a can of Coke, just think about this picture. You’ll definitely rethink your decision. Fun fact: Drinking a can of Coke every day for a month is equivalent to eating more than half of a 5-pound bag of sugar.
Feel the Burn
Science is a wonderful thing. With the development of new technologies, we learn the reasons behind certain sensations we feel. This is a picture of a heat map of an infected hand. So, when something is inflamed and feels warm, it’s actually warm—it’s not just a sensation.
Fun fact: Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense system. When your body detects foreign bacteria or a virus, your white blood cells rush to protect you. An inflamed body part feels hot to the touch because of the increased blood flow.
A Sign of Life
We’re used to seeing DNA represented as a helix. But did you know that this helix can actually be seen by the human eye? We’re not talking about the detailed helix, of course, but those white strands in the test tube are DNA strands. Mind. Blown.
Fun fact: Because DNA is so thin, it cannot be seen by the human eye. However, when these strands are released from the cells’ nuclei, the strands clump together, forming a helix that we can see. This process is relatively easy and can be done at home. You only need dishwashing detergent, meat tenderizer, and cold alcohol. Pretty cool, huh?
Makes You Think
This obviously isn’t a real photograph, but it’s pretty cool to think about. This artist cleverly created a visual representation of what it would look like if Earth had rings like Saturn. Can you imagine if you were taking a midnight stroll and this was your view?
Fun fact: Saturn’s beautiful rings are, in fact, not solid. Astrologers believe that the rings are made of asteroids, comments, or shattered moons that were destroyed by the planet’s powerful gravity force before reaching the planet. Another fact is that you cannot stand on Saturn like you can on Earth as it is mostly made up of mostly gases.