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If the moon were only one pixel
Take that mental image of the solar system you have, scrunch it up, and throw it in the garbage bin in the corner of your brain. A new microsite from designer Josh Worth illustrates what outer space actually looks like, with the emphasis on the ‘space’ part.
Described as a “tediously accurate scale model of the solar system,” the size of the moon is reduced to just one pixel, representing its 3,474 km diameter. The website then invites you to scroll between the planets to get a sense of the distance between them. Here’s a clue – they’re really, really far apart.
So, just how big is the solar system?
Beginning at the sun, the website travels all the way to Pluto which it estimates is a distance of 5,908,642,002 km. That’s obviously quite a large number, but there are plenty of signposts along the way to help put it into perspective. The journey from Mars to Jupiter, for instance, takes about seven months in a spaceship – which is the equivalent of watching 2,000 feature-length movies. You better buy a big bag of popcorn, then.
In total, you would need 665 computer screens lined up next to eachother to display the whole map, and most of them would be completely blank. Most space charts, the website tells us, leave out the most significant part – all the space. “Emptiness is actually everywhere. It’s something like 99.9999999999999999999958% of the known world.”
You probably feel quite small now, right? Check out the website in full if you’d like to feel even smaller.