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The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific is in our online store, filled with Earth and space science resources.
The drawing above is a representation of the Norse conception of the universe as an enormous tree around which is the Earth. At the root of the tree are the world of the Dead, that of the gods, and that of the giants.


Bifrost, the rainbow, was the bridge leading from the Earth, called Midgard, to Asgard, the home of the gods. Only the gods could cross this bridge. Mortals and giants were prevented from reaching Asgard by the god Heimdall.

In Norse mythology, the world was represented as a gigantic tree, possibly an ash, whose roots stretched in three parts reaching three different worlds. The first was the land of the giants, Jotunnheim, the second was Godheim (heaven), the site of the city of Asgard (where the gods lived). The lowest world was Niflheim, the underworld where the dragon Nidhoggr gnawed corpses at the root of the tree.

The Earth, named Midgard, was around the tree in an upper level. Bifrost has been also associated by some scholars with the Milky Way.

It was believed that during a great battle, called Ragnarok, all the gods and living things perished. Lead by Loki, the monsters fought the gods for control. Bifrost was shattered by the weight of the monsters. Eventually, everything was destroyed by a great flood. However, the Earth rose from the waters, and life began once again.

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Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF