May 19, 2022

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Stunning animations show astronomers the true scale of our solar system

Stunning animations show astronomers the true scale of our solar system

Sometimes it takes a Twitter animation to understand – or at least begin to understand – the amazing diversity of worlds that make up our solar system.

Enter planetary astronomer James O’Donoghue of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). he is tweet it Short animation starting with the dwarf planet Ceres, and scrolling upwards through solar system objects by size (including Earth), before closing in zoom out to capture the sun.

There is a slightly higher quality version of the same clip in Youtube.

Even if you know the relative size of everything in the solar system, it’s still a moment Jupiter And the sun is swaying—and you probably never realized how fast Jupiter is spinning relative to Earth, too.

We recommend setting aside a little time to view these rotating orbs. The video is only 45 seconds long, but it’s so amazing that you’ll be watching it multiple times – as we write this, it’s been viewed about 8 million times.

The size, tilt, and rotation of this clip has to be changed, although of course the position has changed – all the planets and stars you see have been brought closer together to fit inside the same video.

If you want to know some of the numbers behind the animation, our planet is 12,742 kilometers or 7,918 miles wide. By contrast, Jupiter’s diameter is 139,820 kilometers or 86,880 miles – 10 times larger than the diameter.

The diameter of the Sun is about 1.39 million kilometers (863,706 miles), which is about 10 times larger in terms of distance from Jupiter, and a hundred times more than Earth. In other words, about a million Earths could fit the sun.

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James O’Donoghue has a precursor to this one too – he’s put together a ton of other videos that show the incredible size of the Solar System, and we’re so grateful they have them.