It freaks me out that tiny atoms and huge solar systems consist of things rotating around each other in a similar way. It's also weird to see time-lapse footage of human beings building things (like that super-fast hotel build in China) and realize how insectoid our activities look when sped up. And above you see the latest strange big/small connection: The planet Earth resembling a beating heart or a breathing being.
A guy named John Nelson runs the UX Blog, which covers user experience, mapping and data visualization for parent software company IDV Solutions. Nelson pulled twelve rare, unobscured-by-clouds images of our planet off of NASA's Visible Earth catalog taken at different times of the year. Stitching them together into an animation, he made the visually stunning discovery you see here: As the seasons change, the ebb and flow of snow and greenery makes our little rock look like it's breathing.
While my initial reaction at seeing this approaches neurotic panic, Nelson is more contemplative:
Having spent much of my life [in an area of North America with strong seasonal changes], I have had a consistent seasonal metronome through which I track the years of my life. When I stitch together what can be an impersonal snapshot of an entire planet, all of the sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat. I can track one location throughout a year to compare the annual push and pull of snow and plant life there, while in my periphery I see the oscillating wave of life advancing and retreating, advancing and retreating. And I'm reassured by it.
There's one thing, however, that we're on the same page about. "I didn't expect to be so mesmerized by them," Nelson writes of the GIFs he's created. "I can't look away."