When we look up at the night sky, we may feel small and insignificant compared to the vast expanse of space. However, our sense of smallness is put into perspective when we consider the true scale of the universe. Our planet Earth is just a tiny speck in a vast and complex system of planets, stars, galaxies, and beyond. In this article, we will explore just how small Earth is when compared to the larger structures of our solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, and the universe as a whole. By understanding our place in the universe, we can gain a greater appreciation for the sheer magnitude and complexity of the cosmos.

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, our brains have problems dealing with big numbers and large objects. Jacqui Frank of Business Insider has prepared a video titled “Earth to Scale”, comparing our planet with large astronomical objects (and distances) in the Universe. These amazing to-scale visuals will help to recognize how small (and fragile) our planet is.

Earth to scale: It’s easy to forget how small our Earth is within the known universe. These to-scale visuals will help to keep that in perspective.

Earth to scale

Some excerpts from the video:

As a person living on Earth, our planet feels pretty big. But, if you start to think about space and beyond, it will start to seem very small.

Sun, planets, and dwarf planets size comparison
Earth to scale: Sun, planets, and dwarf planets size comparison: an illustration of the solar system to scale, created by the San Francisco-based artist Roberto Ziche. The image features the Sun in the background with the planets. Sun’s Equatorial radius is 696,342±65 km, which is 109 times bigger than Earth’s. This means 1093 = 1,295,029 (almost 1.3 million) Earth could fit inside the Sun.
  • Our Sun is only one of 100-200 billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. We can see only see around 4,000 of these stars in the sky.
  • Our galaxy is in a supercluster of galaxies called “Laniakea”, which is home to our galaxy the Milky Way, and 100,000 other nearby galaxies, stretched out over 160 megaparsecs (520 million light-years).


M. Özgür Nevres

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