Category Archives: Solar System

The Size Of Earth Compared to Other Planets and Stars (and the Universe)

When it comes to big numbers, very big numbers, the human brain is weak. In fact, our brains cannot deal with the really large numbers. That’s why when the subject is Earth, planets, Solar System, galaxies, and in general, the Universe, we cannot truly conceptualize the things. A lot of people think we’re “conquering” space (we are far, far away from that – and maybe we never will), or the “aliens” are regularly visiting Earth as if it is just an hour’s drive from there. In fact, these people don’t truly understand what are they talking about, how big is the universe, how far the stars are, and how the Earth is a tiny, tiny spot in a vast space we are still striving to understand.

But we can try to understand and conceptualize. To put things into a perspective, YouTube user morn1415 prepared a video (he updated a previous video with the new findings in the astronomy).

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How Eratosthenes calculated the Earth’s circumference

In 240 BC, the Greek astronomer, geographer, mathematician, music theorist and librarian Eratosthenes of Cyrene (c. 276 BC – c. 195/194 BC) calculated the circumference of the Earth without even leaving Egypt. Here’s how:

Eratosthenes knew that at local noon on the summer solstice (at the time of the longest day, about 21 June in the northern hemisphere) in Syene (modern Aswan, Egypt), the Sun was directly overhead – Syene was in fact slightly north of the tropic, though (1). Local noon is – technically when the sub-solar point is somewhere over your meridian, it’s noon for you. So, on that day, Syene is the sub-solar point of Earth (the sub-solar point on a planet is where its sun is perceived to be directly overhead). To learn more about the local noon and the subsolar point, see the article titled “How Earth Moves“.

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SpaceX unveils the Interplanetary Transport System (a spaceship and rocket to colonize Mars) – video

Elon Mask, the founder, CEO, and Lead Designer of the private space travel company SpaceX announced that “they are planning to get humans to Mars in six years”. In order to achieve this goal, Musk revealed the Interplanetary Transport System, which aims to reach Mars with a human crew for the first time in history.

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Scale of the Solar System (and the first flybys of planets)

Previously I posted two articles titled “If The Moon Were Only 1 Pixel – A Tediously Accurate Map Of The Solar System“, and “A Scale Model of Solar System Drawn in the Desert and the Result is Stunning“. Since the human brain cannot deal with the really large numbers, these articles provide an amazing way to understand how big actually our Solar System is.

Now, I decided to put the Solar System into scale as an infographic. You can see a scaled Solar System below, the planets’ distances from the Sun, and the first flybys over them. Plus some statistics about the planets and our home planet, the Earth.

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Where Earth’s water came from?

Earth is a blue marble in the space: the water, gives our planet its blue color: about 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered. There is roughly 326 million cubic miles (1.332 billion cubic kilometers) water on the Earth’s surface. Almost 97% of that water is salty (ocean water). But where all that water came from?

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A Scale Model of Solar System Drawn in the Desert and the Result is Stunning

We evolved here on Earth, and for thousands of years, we just thought the Earth is also the universe, or at least the most important and the biggest part of it. Our brains have been adapted to the life on Earth and the basic survival needs. So we can deal with the moderately sized objects which have moderate velocity, we can understand the small numbers like 1, 2, 50, we can conceptualize the small distances like two kilometers or the distance from our “cave” to the nearest river. But when the numbers and distances get bigger, I mean much bigger, like the distance from Earth to the Sun, it becomes incredibly difficult to conceptualize.

Previously I posted an article titled “If The Moon Were Only 1 Pixel – A Tediously Accurate Map Of The Solar System“. Since the human brain cannot deal with the really large numbers, it is an amazing way to understand how big actually our Solar System is.

Continue reading A Scale Model of Solar System Drawn in the Desert and the Result is Stunning

Planet Nine – Where is it?

In January 2015, Caltech (California Institute of Technology) astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. Brown published an article titled Evidence For A Distant Giant Planet In The Solar System and announced calculation-based evidence of a massive ninth planet. Despite they have had started their research to demonstrate that there’s no ninth planet, they reached the exact opposite result: there must be a ninth planet beyond Pluto, and it’s probably 10 times the mass of Earth (for comparison, Neptune has 17 times as much mass compared to the Earth).

In an effort to state Planet Nine’s exact location, a team of French scientists used the data from the Cassini–Huygens (an unmanned spacecraft orbiting Saturn, launched on October 15, 1997). They couldn’t able to find the exact location of the giant planet, but they narrowed down the “possible areas”.

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The Tiny Earth

We are living on a tiny life-bearing rock, an oasis, in a large, very large and hostile desert called “Universe”. The universe is big, really big, in fact, even our solar system is shockingly large compared to Earth. But again, our brains have problems dealing with the big numbers and the large objects.

Jacqui Frank of Business Insider has prepared video comparing our planet with large objects (and distances) in the Universe. These amazing to-scale visuals will help to recognize how small (and fragile) our planet is.

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