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Recent Podcast
A Tour of Eta Carinae
A Tour of Eta Carinae
New Chandra data are helping astronomers better understand how the two stars in Eta Carinae interact with one another through powerful winds blowing off their surfaces. (2014-08-27)


Video Podcasts: The Incredible Two-Inch Universe

Step 1: The Realm of the Earth and Moon

View/Listen
If you shrink the earth to about 2 inches or 5 centimeters (cm) in diameter here's how other objects would compare in size and distance:

Note: distances in this activity are approximate in order to give you a rough feel for astronomical scale.
  • Moon Size -1/2 inch (1.3 cm) - hold Earth and Moon images, one in each hand
  • Earth-Moon Distance - 5 feet (150 cm) - spread your arms wide to hold images 5 feet apart
  • Sun Size - 16 feet across (5 m) - imagine a yellow ball the size of a minivan
  • Earth-Sun Distance - 1800 feet (550 m) - about 6 soccer fields apart
  • Light Travel Time - Light travels through space at a constant speed of 186,000 miles per second (300,000 km/sec). At this scale, where the Earth is 2 inches across, we've shrunk 186,000 miles down to about 4 feet. It takes a beam of light a little more than one second to travel from the Moon to the Earth
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