Science Links

If the Moon were only one pixel - A tediously accurate
scale model of the Solar System.

Note from Dave the Webmaster:  I love this website.  It
depicts not only the size of objects in our Solar System to scale
by size, but also to scale by distance.  This is normally very
hard to accomplish.  Normally, you can only find one of two
types:  To scale by size, or to scale by distance, but not both.
To do both at the same  time is damn near impossible.

This website first shows the Sun, which takes up half of the
screen,  and then you scroll to your right until you see Mercury,
the planet closest to the Sun.  This takes a while, and you will
see how unbelieveably far Mercury is from the Sun.  When you
do finally see Mercury, it will be sized to scale, compared to the
Sun, and it will be really tiny, like a small dot, about the size of
the Moon.  In this scenario, the Moon is the size of one pixel on
your screen, and the rest of the objects in the Solar System
use that as a reference for sizing the  other objects.

Another cool thing is that you can have it automatically scroll
across at the speed of light.  Although the speed of light to us
seems basically instantaneous, at this scale, it is
considerably slower.  As an example, it takes light from the
Sun 8.3 minutes, in real time, to reach the Earth, therefore the
Earth is 8.3 light-minutes from the Sun.  When you look at the
Sun, you are actually seeing it as it was 8.3 minutes ago.  In
this simulation, you would have to sit there and watch it for
just over 8 minutes before Earth shows up.  So, in this
simulation, if you want to get an idea of how the speed of
light is, click on the following symbol in the lower,
right-hand corner of the screen:

The simulation will automatically scroll from left to right at
the speed of light at this scale.  If you start at the Sun, and
you click it, it will actually take you 8.3 minutes in
real time, scrolling to the right, until you get to see the Earth.
If you let the simulation  continue all the way to Pluto, it
takes, in real time, 328.4 minutes in real time.    Sitting at
your computer, you would have to sit almost 6 hours,
watching it, until you see Pluto.

If you were on the surface of Pluto, and you were looking
at the Sun, you would be seeing the Sun as it was just less
than 6 hours ago.  If the Sun was to explode,  if you were on
Pluto, you would not know for almost 6 hours. All of this
gives you an appreciation not only of the relative sizes of the
objects in the Solar System, but  also the relative distances.

Bad Astronomy - The Bad Astronomy web pages are devoted
airing out myths and misconceptions in astronomy and
related topics.

Moon Base Clavius - An organization of amateurs and
professionals devoted to the Apollo
program and its manned
exploration of the moon. Their special mission is to debunk

the so-called conspiracy theories that state such a landing
may never have occurred.

Bizarre Hexagon on Saturn Shines in Spectacular NASA Photo
 A stunning new photo of Saturn's
north pole spotlights the
planet's bizarre hexagon-shaped  vortex and beautiful bands
of swirling winds.  

Bizarre Giant Hexagon on Saturn May Finally Be Explained
The huge,
mysterious hexagon at Saturn's north pole may
finally have an explanation.

Astronomers Want to Use the Sun as a Massive Telescope
The proposed gravitational
lensing technique could produce
high-quality images of exoplanets from hundreds of
light-years away.

Mars Pathfinder - An American robotic spacecraft that
landed a base station with a roving probe on Mars in 1997.

Comet Shoemaker - Levy 9 - A comet that broke apart in
July 1992 and collided with Jupiter on July 1994, providing
the first direct observation of an extraterrestrial collision
of Solar System objects.

The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center - NASA's Manned
Spacecraft Center, where human spaceflight training,
research, and flight control are conducted.

Welcome to the Planets - A collection of many of the best
images from NASA's planetary exploration program.

The Nine Planets - A multi-media tour of the Solar System.

Since December 1968, Kennedy Space Center has been
NASA's primary launch center of human spaceflight.

International Space Station - A space station, or a habitable
artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit.

Earth and Moon Viewer - You can view either a map of the
Earth showing the day and night regions at this moment, or
view the Earth from the Sun, the Moon, the night side of the
Earth, above any location on the planet specified by latitude,
longitude and altitude, from a satellite in Earth orbit, or
above various cities around the globe.

Naked Eye Stargazing - Unaided eye observing is observing
astronomical objects without optical instruments such as
binoculars and telescopes.

Back to the links page