Just how vast is our solar system?
An eye-opening new animation (above) really puts things in perspective. It shows that even if you travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), the trek from the sun to the Earth and other planets takes a really long time.
The 45-minute video, created by Los Angeles-based artist Alphonse Swinehart and posted on Vimeo on Jan. 26, starts at the sun and zooms out into the solar system. You reach the Earth and our moon at around 8:20, and the journey ends after reaching Jupiter and its moons (at around 43:20). The distance traveled and time elapsed is visible in the frame’s upper left corner.
“I’ve taken liberties with certain things like the alignment of planets and asteroids, but overall I’ve kept the size and distances of all the objects as accurate as possible,” Swinehart says in the video’s description. “I also decided to end the animation just past Jupiter as I wanted to keep the running length below an hour.”
If the video continued on to Saturn, it would have lasted another 34 minutes.
(Story continues below GIF.)
“I think this is [a] super cool way to understand the enormity of space,” Vimeo user Joe Sullivan commented on the video. “You might want to note… if you were actually a photon traveling at the speed of light you would not experience any time or distance. The time you are expressing is the time as measured by a stationary observer.”
Now we feel small.
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