Get a sense of scale for planets

Scale from Brad Goodspeed on Vimeo.



By John Roach

Earth may be a special place, but it’s really not all that big compared to other planets in the solar system, as blogger Brad Goodspeed illustrates in this video. The planetary images are tweaked to show how big other planets would appear if they orbited our world at the distance of the moon, 240,000 miles (380,000 kilometers) away.

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In the video, which has gone viral, Jupiter appears to fill the night sky. Goodspeed has since updated the original post with a note explaining that the video does not represent the entire night sky, and that Jupiter would actually not fill the entire sky, as was pointed out to him in a comment on his blog. You can follow along the ensuing discussion in this post.

Scientific accuracy aside, the video does accomplish its goal of making Earthlings feel small. And the discussion about the accuracy of the video, according to Goodspeed, is a good lesson in the scientific process.

“It’s my hope that by pointing out my own errors the skeptical ethic might be introduced to some new people. And by using this video as a case study in the discussion between art and science, the whole mission of this blog is advanced,” he writes.

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John Roach is a contributing writer for Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the “like” button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following’s science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).


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