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A Matter of Scale

Note: this post was first published on Feb. 22, 2011. I’m reposting it again today because 1. the video creator has since updated the soundtrack, and 2. it’s still awesome.


One of the things that fascinates me so much about the Universe is the incredible vastness of scale, distance and size.

On Earth we have virtually nothing to compare to the kinds of sizes seen in space. We look up at the stars and planets in the night sky but they are just bright points of light. Some brighter, some larger, some slightly different colors. But they’re still just points from where we stand. Even from space, seen by telescopes or by astronauts in orbit….still just points.

But they’re so much more than that, obviously.

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A Matter of Scale


One of the things that fascinates me so much about the Universe is the incredible vastness of scale, distance and size.

On Earth we have virtually nothing to compare to the kinds of sizes seen in space. We look up at the stars and planets in the night sky but they are just bright points of light. Some brighter, some larger, some slightly different colors. But they’re still just points from where we stand. Even from space, seen by telescopes or by astronauts in orbit….still just points.

But they’re so much more than that, obviously.

Our planet Earth is big. (To us.) Most of the other planets are bigger. (To us.) Our star, the Sun, is much bigger still.

(Again, to us.)

Other stars, other suns, are even bigger than that. And this video gives a wonderful illustration of just what sort of scale is involved.

Featured on the Astronomy Picture of the Day this video by YouTube user morn1415 shows the comparative sizes of most of the planets in our solar system with our Sun, and then with other stars in our galaxy. It’s a great perspective on the actual scale of those little points of light in the night sky, and therefore the distances that must be involved as well. (And why it’s not so easy to find other Earth-sized planets!)

After all, in the grand scheme of things, we’re not very big at all. (Except to us.)

Enjoy!

Video by morn1415

*yes, there’s no Uranus and the planets (except Venus) are rotating the opposite directions. Don’t get too caught up in the example. 🙂

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