[Watch] The solar system to scale, in a 7-mile desert (video)

19 Sep 2015

Every picture you have ever seen that tries to convey the scale of our solar system is a fraud. This is the true scale, and it is huge.

On illustrations in classrooms scale is way off, planet sizes multiplied hundreds of times over just to make them visible and everything fits into frames far too small.

Considering the fact that humans couldn’t be trusted to map Earth very accurately for a long time (we still get Africa way wrong, which is nuts) this should not be too much of a surprise.

So it’s nice when someone gets up and tries to do something about it.

Seven miles of a solar system

Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh headed out into a dry lakebed in Nevada. They went to Black Rock desert, to be specific, to find a flat piece of empty land to put their seven-mile project to work.

In a few hours they set up the sun bang in the middle, and measured out where every planet should sit.

Uranus, for example, is sitting 3.4km away from the 1.5-metre sun. Neptune, a cool purple hue, is a massive 5.6km out, with Pluto left out of the equation. Sniff.

Once set up, Wylie held up a screen to represent the sun. They were quite clever in doing this, making the view of Wylie’s sun look the same as the real sun in the background.

From there, with some brilliant footage, music and timelapse effects, an amazing video was born.


Main image via Shutterstock

Gigglebit is Siliconrepublic.com’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic