Most models of the solar system are not to scale.1Reasonable scales between planets tend to make the planets microscopic. Those that are, tend to be quite large. For example, I have visited the 1:2,200,000,000 scale model in Boise, Idaho. It has a sun with a diameter of only 0.5 m and a distance between the sun and Pluto 2.4 km. That’s a hike!
Another model in the northwest is in Eugene, Oregon, with a larger 1:1,000,000,000 scale. Its sun is 1.4 m making the distance between the sun and Pluto 5.9 km. To put things in perspective, the distance between the sun and Earth is 150 m, and the Earth is only 1.2 cm in diameter.2You can find info about other models on Wikipedia.
The website, If the moon were only 1 pixel, not surprisingly, accurately scales the solar system with the moon’s diameter being only one pixel on your screen. Prepare yourself for a lot of sideways scrolling — Pluto’s 1,700,423.5 pixels away from the sun.
Hat tip: Farnam Street Brain Food No. 346.
Post updated to include the number of pixels that Pluto is from the sun.
- 1Reasonable scales between planets tend to make the planets microscopic.
- 2You can find info about other models on Wikipedia.
2 responses to “If the moon were only 1 pixel [Link]”
this is so so cool. thx for posting.
Thanks! So many maps are of things and this one is of … nothing. I think that’s the point.
This reminded me of the Scale of the Universe interactive (fortunately, there’s still a Youtube video for those of us without Flash). However, when I went to it, I was struck by how the space between space objects was largely absent.
Thanks for dropping by and commenting!