Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Solar System Model built to Scale; How tiny humanity is in the scheme of material things!

A correspondent passed on this video, To Scale: The Solar System,, 7 min. 06 secs, published on Sep. 16th 2015. It has already touched over 1.6 million views in slightly over one week after publication (as of 24th Sept. 2015)!

I added the following comment on the youtube video:
Loved it. Found it educative, really. I mean, I knew distances in the solar system were HUGE, but I did not have a proper sense of proportion of sizes of planets and sun, and the distances between them. This video gives me that sense of proportion (I presume it is accurate; would be great if it is certified for fair level of accuracy (not perfect accuracy) by some top orgn. in the field like NASA).
--- end comment ---

Five short quotes from the video:

From 0:00: As we got farther and farther away, the Earth diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine ... seeing this has to change a man. - JAMES IRWIN, Apollo 15

From around 0:40: Every single picture of the solar system that we ever encounter is not to scale. If you put the orbits to scale on a piece of paper [Ravi: Regular writing pad paper size], the planets become microscopic, and you won't be able to see them.

From around 1:44: To create a scale model [Ravi: of the solar system] with an Earth only as big as this marble, you need seven miles [Ravi: Around 11.26 kilometres] of empty space.

From around 2:05: At this scale, the Sun is a meter and a half [Ravi: seems to be diameter size of Sun object in model; 1.5 m is around 4.92 feet]  ...

From around 6:34: We are on a marble [Ravi:earth], floating in the middle of nothing. When you sort-of come face to face with that, it's staggering.
--- end video quotes ---

Ravi: I think this video does a great service to educating people about solar system with a right sense of proportion. From a spiritual perspective, it clearly shows how utterly insignificant our physical human body is in this grand Solar System scheme of things. I mean, when the earth itself is just a marble floating in the middle of nothing, the physical bodies of all the seven odd billions of people on the planet would be, I guess, just like minuscule particles of dust on this marble floating in the middle of nothing!

How foolish it is for individual human beings to have a greatly inflated perception of their own power! How foolish it is for people to get caught up in some egomaniac or megalomaniac trap! Yes, human beings have achieved enormous capability in, and amassed enormous amount of knowledge of, the material world. But when one sees those achievements in the right proportion, one realizes that despite all the astounding and very praise-worthy material achievements of humanity, from a material perspective, humanity is just a set of minuscule particles of dust on a marble floating in the middle of nowhere! Yes, humanity has sent a very, very few people to space (within the Solar System), and sent some unmanned objects to space (within the Solar System), but that's it really. In my humble opinion, one cannot escape from the fact that from a material perspective, humanity is utterly dependent on the Sun, and is defenceless against any big shake-up event in the Solar system (or for that matter, any planetary scale shake-up event on earth itself).

I should also say that spiritual and religious people (includes me) believe that we are more than our physical bodies, and that we are a spirit that does not die when the physical body dies, and that this spirit is part of an eternal and all encompassing power which projects (has created) the world (solar system, universe). That gives spiritual and religious people a sense of permanent life (eternal life). [Of course, Non-theists (atheists & agnostics) will not accept these beliefs/views of spiritual and religious people :-).]


1) From the description on the youtube video link above:

On a dry lakebed in Nevada [Ravi: in USA], a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe.

A film by Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh

Feel like supporting more films like this? Consider becoming a Patron:
--- end youtube video description extract ---

2) Pluto, which during my school student days (1970s in India) was a planet, is now not considered to be a regular planet but a dwarf planet, Ref: Regarding why Pluto was removed from planet list and made a dwarf planet, the section 'Why Is Pluto Not Called a Planet Anymore?' in 'What Is Pluto?',, explains it. A short extract from it is given below:

In 2003, an astronomer saw a new object beyond Pluto. The astronomer thought he had found a new planet. The object he saw was larger than Pluto. He named the object Eris (EER-is).

Finding Eris caused other astronomers to talk about what makes a planet a "planet." There is a group of astronomers that names objects in space. This group decided that Pluto was not really a planet because of its size and location in space. So Pluto and objects like it are now called dwarf planets.
--- end extract from NASA website ---

[I thank Wylie Overstreet, Alex Gorosh and NASA and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above very short extracts from their youtube video captions & website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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