Zoom level discussion

If you describe fractal magnifications in the same way that you do a microscope (for example, 10x, 50x, and 1000x), you quickly find yourself getting into ridiculously large numbers. Whereas microscopes are limited to around a million times magnification, fractal programs frequently use up to a billion, billion, billion, billion times, or more.

Instead of describing magnifications in terms of incomprehensibly large numbers that are very difficult to say, Fractal eXtreme describes magnifications in terms of the number of zooms it takes to get to a magnification level. This information is always displayed in the status bar, Status window, and the Set Location window. The computer and math wizards in the audience can call it the base two logarithm of the magnification, but we'll just call it the number of zooms. Conversion of the number of zooms to the magnification is fairly easy. A magnification of one thousand is approximately 10 zooms. A magnification of one million (one thousand thousand) is approximately 20 zooms. A magnification of one thousand million is approximately 30 zooms, and so on.

The most we at Cygnus Software usually zoom in on a fractal is one thousand times. The magnification of the picture when we do this is ten to the 300th power -- that's a one followed by three hundred zeros. That's equivalent to a million times a million times a million times...repeated about fifty times. That's serious magnification. At that magnification, a wee tiny subatomic particle would appear to be considerably larger than the visible universe! How much larger? Well, it actually only takes about one hundred and forty zooms to make an electron the size of the visible universe, so one thousand zooms, is simply an incomprehensibly, outrageously, enormously, ridiculously large zoom level. But this program will let you do it. In fact, the maximum zoom level supported by Fractal eXtreme is seven thousand two hundred zooms. Warning: Due to the incredible accuracy required and the high number of iterations per pixel, images at that magnification take rather a long time to calculate.

Hint: if you want to quickly zoom in really far follow the instructions to zoom in thousands of times into Top o' the world and end of the set.

The following table lists some example zoom levels, their corresponding magnifications, and another attempt to put that magnification into perspective. Zooming in eight times with Fractal eXtreme, for example, magnifies the fractal 256 times. If you increased the size of the average computer at the same rate, this would translate to having a football field on your desk and a very scary mouse. A magnification listed in the form ~1E30 means "approximately one times ten to the thirtieth power" or one followed by thirty zeros.

Zooms Magnification Amount Size of Monitor
1 2 bigger than a bread box
2 4  
3 8  
4 16  
5 32  
6 64  
7 128  
8 256 football field
9 512  
10 1024 100-story building
20 ~1E6 Vancouver Island
30 ~1E9 Jupiter's radius
40 ~1E12 Earth's orbit
50 ~1E15  
60 ~1E18 distance to Alpha Centauri
70 ~1E21 Milky Way galaxy
80 ~1E24 large doesn't cover it!
90 ~1E27  
100 ~1E30 huge
110 ~1E33 really huge
120 ~1E36 even huger
130 ~1E39 enormously gargantuan
140 ~1E42 size of electron to the universe
1000 ~1E301 incomprehensibly big...but we did it!
7200 ~1E2167 Maximum zoom level supported by Fractal eXtreme -- at this time.