Relative Sizes of Heavenly Objects

To paraphrase Douglas Adams from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

To fill up that unimaginably vast stretch of emptiness, the Powers That Be decided to populate it with some rather large objects. You will find below some images to help put some of these objects into perspective with your puny little self.

Here we see the relative sizes of the 4 inner planets and Pluto. Mars seems to be a bit smaller than I'd have thought, but you can plainly see the amazing similarity in size between Earth and Venus. Unfortunately, this picture does not show how the Moon would stack up in size relative to the planets.

Next we see all nine solar planets in proportion to each other. Jupiter really dwarfs all the other planets except Saturn. Personally, I thought Uranus and Neptune would be a bit bigger relative to Saturn.

O.K. Now let's bring the Sun into the mix... Given how mindbogglingly big space is, don't even try building a solar system to scale unless you own a fair sized planet yourself.

For those of you Solar-centric folks out there who think the small and puny place we live is something ultra special and majestic, I offer the following. Note the insignificance of Sol next to some of these monsters! To put the true size of Betelgeuse into perspective, if you were to drop that star into the solar system in place of Sol, the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars would be inside the star itself.

And finally, here there be monsters! Can you find the single pixel that represents Sol?

I have two final image for you to really put it all in perspective. The following is what Antares looks like from a distance of just the distance that light travels in a day. The nearest star is 4.2 light years away from us.

This is our solar system from the same distance. The red circle marks Jupiter's orbit.

Where to go next

Contents ... Overview ... Relative Sizes ... Sol ... Data Host

Zeugma; last updated: August 7, 2006