Great view of the planets and their size
The picture of the solar system was likely formed by the classical representation of planets of similar size, clearly visible from all sides and moving in circular orbits around the sun at manageable distances. This photo helps clarify the basic structure, but in many respects it is very far from reality and completely ignores some important facts. A clip is now making waves on social media, in an attempt to put the true dimensions of celestial bodies in the right light.
Astronomer James O’Donoghue, who says he’s also a science journalist and amateur animator, tried to show in his video the size, speed of rotation and tilt of planets and some small bodies in our solar system. First, the Moon, Pluto, and Ceres appear, followed by Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury – Earth and Mars show their nearly simultaneous rotation.
Neptune and Uranus will appear next, with the latter being particularly noted for its unusual inclination to its axis. The two gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, which also have a much higher rotational speed than Earth, provide perspective on the large differences in dimensions. Last but not least, the Sun puts all the planets and their sizes in an entirely different light – it accounts for 99.86 percent of the total mass of our solar system.
Lots of great answers
O’Donoghue also started a fascinating discussion about astronomy and the solar system with his post, which quickly garnered over 15 million views. Another great video showing the journey and speed of the planets and the sun in relation to the rest of the universe. NASA also mentions its own space exploration show — sure worth a look. And last but not least at this point is a personal recommendation: the project “If the moon was only one pixel larger“.
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