Scale (video below)
by Brad Goodspeed
NOTE: THE FOLLOWING VIDEO DOES NOT REPRESENT THE ENTIRE NIGHT SKY, or at least it doesn’t anymore. I’ve updated the video to omit the foreground landscape in an effort to account for an error in perspective. Unfortunately, due to my error, websites are widely reporting that Jupiter would fill the entire night sky, but it wouldn’t. What’s depicted here is a much narrower perspective than the previously mentioned 62 degrees, something that I imagine could be calculated by people much brighter than I. I imagine this view is closer to what you’d see through some very weak binoculars, but that’s just a guess. For a somewhat technical explanation of what was wrong with the original version of this video, and what that realization can teach us about skepticism, please read this.
Here’s an animation I did to make you feel small.
While watching the video of the lunar eclipse I posted the other day I was looking at the curvature of the earth’s shadow on the moon. It made me think about how large the earth might look if an exact copy of it was up there instead of the moon. Soon curiosity got the better of me, and I was animating!
So the basic idea is, each planet you see is the size it would appear in the sky if it shared an orbit with the moon, 380,000 kms from earth. I created this video in After Effects, and because of certain technical considerations had to keep the field of view at 62 degrees. That means the foreground element is not precisely to scale. I realized this after the fact and may update the video at some point in the future. All planets are to correct scale with one another in any case.
Please watch full screen in HD if possible. Oh! And please consider sharing with your friends on Twitter or Facebook.
Music: ‘Where We’re Calling From’ from the album ‘The Last Broadcast’ by ‘Doves’