Previously I posted 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 really large numbers, these articles provide amazing ways to understand how big actually our Solar System is.
Now, in his YouTube channel, The Science Asylum, physicist Nick Lucid provides yet another scale model of the solar system. A very nice video conceptualizing how mind-bogglingly big our solar system (and space) is.
Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.Douglas Adams
Previously, Nick Lucid published another video, titled “How far away is the moon“. In this video, he used a basketball for the Earth and a tennis ball for the moon (scale: 52,800,000 to 1). He uses the same scale in the video above.
Some Numbers from the “craziest” scale model of the Solar System
If you scale Earth down to a basketball:
- The real diameter of the Sun is around 864,337 miles (1,3910,16 km). That’s a little over 109 Earths just across its diameter. In terms of volume, it’s about 1,3 million Earths. So, using the 1/52,800,00 scale, the Sun would be a sphere with a diameter of 85 feet (26 meters), roughly 109 basketballs across. The Sun also contains 98% of the total mass of the entire solar system.
- The size of Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun would be about that of a softball. Its distance from the Sun would be 0.68 miles (1.1 kilometers).
- Venus’s size would be that of a football. The distance between Venus and the Sun would be 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometers).
- Our Earth (the basketball), would be 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometers) away from the Sun.
- The last of the inner planets, Mars (we put a few robots on it!) would be about the size of a hamster ball and would be 2.7 miles (4.3 kilometers) away from the Sun.
- The distances between the outer planets and the Sun are incredible. The distance between Earth and Sun named an astronomical unit (AU). Jupiter, the biggest planet in our Solar System would be 5 AU away. You can fit almost 11 Earth across the diameter of Jupiter. That means you can fit almost 1,300 Earth inside the volume of Jupiter. Jupiter is also massive, it contains almost one half of the remaining mass of the entire solar system. On our scale, it would be a sphere with a diameter of 8.7 feet (2.65 meters). Its distance from the Sun would be 9.2 miles (14.7 kilometers).
- Saturn would orbit the Sun at over 16.8 miles (27 kilometers). That’s 10 AU from the Sun! Twice the orbit of Jupiter. It is really big on our scale too, at 7.2 feet or 2.2 meters. Its rings make it even look bigger than it is.
- Uranus would be about the size of a hula-hoop, 38 inches or 96 centimeters in diameter. It would orbit the Sun at 38.8 miles (54.4 kilometers). Almost 20 AU from the Sun! You can also fit four piles of earth across the diameter of Uranus. That’s why astronomers call outer planets “giants”.
- The farthest planet from the Sun (at least for now), Neptune is a bit smaller than Uranus – about that of a children’s swim ring in our scale. It would be located at 53 miles (86 kilometers) from the scaled Sun. That’s about 30 AU.
- Not mentioned in the video, since it’s not a planet anymore, but Pluto‘s distance from the Sun would be a whopping 66 miles (111 kilometers). Its size would be about that of a golf ball. And we’ve sent a probe even there!
- There are farther objects too. Like the Kuiper belt, a belt includes most comets and Pluto, and the Oort cloud (its outer limit is at 100,000 AU!).