I was sent this video this week. It put me – a tiny living organism in a house, in a suburb, in a city, in a country, in the bottom corner of a continent – firmly in perspective:
And that Ceres that they start with is not the fruit-growing town 160km up the road from Cape Town. Although they are both named after the Roman goddess of Agriculture, only one of them is a dwarf planet lying between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Oh, and while we’re still near the beginning of the animation, thank you, I am already aware that Venus‘ rotation is depicted incorrectly. Yes yes, I know Uranus behaves a bit weirdly as well.
Oh, grow up.
Despite the fact that it’s about 3 times the size of our sun, Vega appears to be small because it’s 27 light years away.
And despite Arcturus being a whole 36 million kilometres across, you can’t even see it from the Southern Hemisphere. Waste of time.
Rigel is almost a hundred million kilometres in diameter. You can see it on the top left of the Orion constellation from the Southern hemisphere, but because all the constellations were described from the glorious North, it’s actually his right foot.
Betelgeuse is the diametrically opposite Rigel in Orion, so it’s where his right foot should be for us down here, despite actually representing his left shoulder.
It’s so big that if it were our sun, it would stretch out almost as far as Saturn.
And we’d all be very, very dead. But amusingly(?), it could be that Betelgeuse is also nearly dead.
Feel insignificant yet? Let’s bring on that big boy:
UY Scuti is the biggest known star in the universe. It Is a hypergiant with a radius around 1,700 times larger than the Sun.
I genuinely thought that was pointing at some dust of my laptop screen. It was only when I scrolled down and triggered the sunset that I realised it was actually a real pixel.
1,700 times the size of the sun means that UY Scuti is over 185,000 times the diameter of Earth.
I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and that means it’s 120 billion times the size of Cape Town.
The traffic must be awful.