It's Hard To Comprehend The Solar System's Staggering Size Without Seeing This
September 18, 2015 #expanse
By August West

Most planetary models fail to convey the true scale of our expansive solar system. In a still image, it's possible to illustrate the size of orbits in comparison to each other, and the same is true for the planets. The problem arises when combining the two.

Neptune is the outermost planet in our solar system (sorry, Pluto!), and it's over 2.7 billion miles from the sun. Jupiter's radius might be 11.2 times larger than Earth's, but on the scale of the solar system, the space it takes up is insignificant.

After seeing the failings of existing representations of the solar system, Wylie Overstreet trekked out to Nevada's Black Rock Desert. The area is well acquainted with out-of-this-world events (it's the site of the annual community and art festival, Burning Man), but there's something truly unique about this. It's a to-scale representation of our solar system, and it takes up an area equal to the city of San Francisco. That's 7 miles wide.

Check out the awesome clip below and let us know your impressions. When the video's over, be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook!

To Scale: The Solar System

On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe.

Posted by To Scale Series on Wednesday, September 16, 2015
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