A stunning animation by a planetary scientist shows how huge our solar system is - and why that makes it so hard to depict
- A video by planetary scientist James O'Donoghue explains how size, distance, and space make capturing our solar system in an accurate model so tricky.
- Most models of the solar system aren't to scale because if they were, you would barely be able to see the planets.
- These stunning animations show how huge our solar system is.
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Most models of the solar system aren't completely accurate, and there's a good reason for that.It's not laziness or scientific misunderstanding - an accurate, to-scale portrayal of the solar system just wouldn't look that interesting. You have to zoom in to see what's going on.
"Think about the vastness of space long enough and chills are sent down the spine," O'Donoghue said on Twitter.This series of his videos explains how size, distance, and space make solar system models so tricky.
O'Donoghue recently made a simple animation of the planets rotating around our sun.
O'Donoghue didn't show the sun's actual size relative to the planets, because the sun is so big that it would dominate the screen.
The unique movements of planets are another thing to consider. Each planet tilts differently on its axis and rotates at its own speed.
Even if a model shows the sun and every planet at the right size, speed, rotation, and tilt, one problem remains: distance.
If you accurately portray that space in a solar system model, there's not much to look at. The planets aren't even visible.
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