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Recent Podcast
Light Beyond the Bulb: Over and Beyond the Rainbow
Light Beyond the Bulb: Over and Beyond the Rainbow
While scientists and philosophers have tried to figure out exactly what light is for millennia, it's only been in the past several hundred years or so that we've really started to figure it out. (2015-07-01)


Video Podcasts: The Incredible Two-Inch Universe

Step 3: The Realm of Our Solar System and Nearby Stars

View/Listen
Now let's shrink the entire Solar System down to 2 inches in diameter :

Planet sizes and orbits on 2-inch image are NOT to scale!
  • Size of Sun - Microscopic at this scale, a shining speck at the center of the image
  • Sun-Earth Distance - 1/2 mm - Earth orbits very close to the center of the Solar System
  • Pluto's Orbit - Around the edge of the 2-inch Solar System image
  • Nearest Star to Sun - 2 soccer fields away
  • Nearby Star Discovered to Have Orbiting Planets - 5 soccer fields away. Two planets have been discovered around the star Epsilon Eridani, which is visible from the southern hemisphere.
  • Our Milky Way Galaxy - Size of North America. At this scale, our 2-inch Solar System is part of a continent-sized system of 200 billion shining speck stars. These stars, spread 30 miles (50 km) high, are generally separated from each other by more than 2 soccer fields.
  • Light Travel Time - It takes about 10 hours for a beam of light to cross the Solar System and years for light to travel between stars.
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