Another “putting things into perspective” video which I liked, shows how big space is, and actually how far the nearest stars are from us.

In the video published by the Cody’sLab channel below, we’ll see how far would the nearest star from us, if the Sun was the size of a pea (7 millimeters). He made a 200 billionth scale model to demonstrate (5×10-12).

How far are the nearest stars?

Spoiler: if the Sun was the size of a pea, the closest star to us (other than the Sun, of course), Proxima Centauri, which is about 4.243 light-years from Earth would be approximately a whopping 202 kilometers (125 miles) away!.

On this scale, the distances of some objects from the Sun would be:

  • Earth: 70 cm (2.3 feet), 1 AU (Astronomical Unit, the distance between Earth and the Sun, which is actually 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers)
  • Jupiter: 4 meters (12.8 feet)
  • Pluto: 30 meters (97 feet)
  • Voyager 1: 96.6 meters (317 feet)
  • Proxima Centauri: 202 kilometers (125 miles) – real distance: 4.243 light-years
  • Alpha Centauri (nearest visible star to the naked eye): 210.87 kilometers (131 miles)- real distance: 4.367 light-years. Alpha Centauri is also the nearest sun-like star.
Nearest stars - Proxima Centauri as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope
Proxima Centauri as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. Proxima Centauri is the nearest known star to the Sun – it is about 4.244 light-years (1.301 pc) away. It is a small, low-mass star (a red dwarf), and cannot be seen from Earth with the naked eye. Proxima Centauri forms a third member of the Alpha Centauri system, being identified as component Alpha Centauri C, and is 2.18° to the southwest of the Alpha Centauri AB pair. Its mass is about an eighth of the Sun’s mass (M), and its average density is about 33 times that of the Sun. In 2016, the European Southern Observatory announced the discovery of Proxima Centauri b, a planet orbiting the star at a distance of roughly 0.05 AU (7.5 million km) with an orbital period of approximately 11.2 Earth days. Its estimated mass is at least 1.3 times that of the Earth. The equilibrium temperature of Proxima b is estimated to be within the range of where water could exist as liquid on its surface, thus placing it within the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri.


M. Özgür Nevres
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