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Fly Through The Solar System At The Speed Of Light With This Video

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Space is really, really big, and there’s been a couple of great videos out there that show off the relative size of objects. This video puts the scale of the solar system into real perspective by showing how it takes you pass through the solar system at the speed of light.

Light travels 299,792,458 m/s, and it takes just over 45 minutes from the surface of the sun to reach Jupiter. This video takes you past the planets at lightspeed, and it shows off just how long it takes to get around the solar system.

I’ve taken liberties with certain things like the alignment of planets and asteroids, as well as ignoring the laws of relativity concerning what a photon actually “sees” or how time is experienced at the speed of light, but overall I’ve kept the size and distances of all the objects as accurate as possible. I also decided to end the animation just past Jupiter as I wanted to keep the running length below an hour.


What I really like about this is that there’s a measure included for how long it’ll take to get to each planet, and later, he shows off the relative orbits of each planet, taken from the side, a view that I’d never really considered before: each planet orbits at a slightly different angle (although they’re very close to the same plane). What’s also nice is that he throws in some of the larger, non-planetary objects like Ceres and Vesta in the mix.

The sheer size of the solar system is difficult to comprehend, but this serves as a great reminder that we’re very, very tiny in the grand scheme of things.