If the moon was a pixel: a scale model of the solar system
The solar system is an enormous and vast realm with objects so distant from each other that it can be challenging for our minds to comprehend the actual scale. Imagine if we could reduce the size of the solar system’s celestial bodies to mere pixels on a screen; how would our perception change? In this article, we will explore a scale model of our solar system with the moon as its base unit of measurement, represented by just one pixel.
The Pixelated Moon:
For our pixel-sized solar system, let us set one pixel to represent the moon’s diameter of 3,474 kilometers. This will provide us with a frame for scaling other objects and distances within our solar system. It is crucial to remember that as we work through this scale model, only the sizes of the objects are adjusted, keeping their distances relative to each other.
Earth and Inner Planetary Neighbors:
With one pixel representing the Moon’s diameter, Earth now measures roughly 7.9 pixels in diameter (12,742 kilometers). Our nearest celestial neighbors— Mercury, Venus, and Mars—turn out to be 3.2 pixels (4,880 kilometers), 6.3 pixels (12,104 kilometers), and 4.8 pixels (6,779 kilometers) in diameter.
Travel Distance Within the Inner Solar System:
Taking into account the average distance between Earth and its neighboring planets on this scale model, one would find that these distances can equal thousands of moon pixel representations apart. For instance, Earth is approximately 22,937 pixels away from Venus and around 25,680 pixels away from Mars.
Gas Giants and Outer Planetary Realms:
Moving further out in our solar system brings us to the gas giants—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—all vastly larger than their inner planetary counterparts. On our adjusted scale model, Jupiter is a whopping 88.7 pixels in diameter (139,822 kilometers), followed by Saturn’s 74.9 pixels (116,460 kilometers). Comparatively smaller, Uranus and Neptune are 31.3 pixels (51,118 kilometers) and 30.6 pixels (49,528 kilometers) across.
Vast Distances in the Outer Solar System:
The pixel distances between these gas giants are even more astounding; on our scale model, the distance between Mars and Jupiter is approximately 127,800 pixels away. Imagine scrolling past
all those pixel representations of empty space to capture the sheer enormity of our solar system.
By representing the moon as a single pixel and then scaling the solar system accordingly, we can begin to grasp the mind-boggling distances that separate celestial bodies. While this scale model has limitations in comprehending the true vastness of our universe, it offers us a valuable perspective on just how remarkable our cosmic neighborhood is and ignites our curiosity to learn more about its mysteries beyond our perceptual limitations.