Amazing animation from an astronomer shows the true scale of our solar system

(ORDO NEWS) — Sometimes animation is required to understand – or at least begin to understand – the amazing variety of worlds that make up our solar system.

Such people include planetary astronomer James O’Donoghue of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

He tweeted a short animation that starts with the dwarf planet Ceres, then zooms in on Solar System objects in size (including the Earth), and finally zooms in to view the Sun.

There is a slightly better version of the same video on YouTube.

Even if you know the relative sizes of all the objects in the solar system, the moment when Jupiter and the Sun come into view will be very impressive – and you may never have realized how fast Jupiter rotates relative to the Earth.

We recommend taking some time to watch the spinning balls. The video clip is only 45 seconds long, but it is so mesmerizing that you will watch it several times – at the time of writing, it has been viewed about 8 million times.

The dimensions, tilts and rotations in this video are true to scale, although of course the layout has been changed – all the planets and stars you see have been moved closer together to fit in one video clip.

If you want to know some of the numbers behind the animation, then our planet is 12,742 kilometers wide, or 7,918 miles. Jupiter, by contrast, has a diameter of 139,820 kilometers, or 86,880 miles—more than 10 times its diameter.

The Sun is about 1.39 million kilometers (863,706 miles) in diameter, so it is about 10 times the size of Jupiter and more than 100 times the size of the Earth in terms of distance. In other words, about a million Earths can fit on the Sun.

James O’Donoghue has a previous form for this as well – he has collected many other videos showing the astonishing scale of the solar system and we are very grateful to him for that.


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