All of the replicas you might have seen of our solar system in your life were actually incorrect depictions of our gargantuan solar system. Yes, even the ones you saw in school. The solar system is so huge that to create a full scale replica of it would need not a small canvas of paper, or even a large board, but an entire desert.
Two space enthusiasts, Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh, sought to do the impossible by showing just how vast our local neighborhood of planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, and comets really is by building the first ever scale model of the solar system, complete with planetary orbits. To do so, Overstreet and Gorosh had to seek a canvas that could correspond with the scale of our solar system, and what better place to do it than the enormous Nevada desert.
According to Wired, the duo first built a model of the inner planets to a scale of 1 astronomical unit (AU, or distance from the Sun to Earth) of 176 meters. Then the process had to be repeated for the outer planets, with both Overstreet and Gorosh driving around each of the paths with a torch.
The idea of making the first to-scale replica of the solar system was driven by Overstreet’s frustration at the fact that not a single representation of our solar system corresponded to its actual size.
“There is literally not an image that adequately shows you what it actually looks like from out there [space].”
After convincing his friend to join him in building the replica, Overstreet embarked on the ambitious adventure. When they arrived at the dry lake bed in Black Rock desert in Nevada, the friends gave themselves only 36 hours to finish the ambitious model, spiced up with the planets’ orbits animated at night through lights.
The two friends decided to capture the entire adventure of creating the solar system replica on camera. The result is an astonishing time-lapse video that shows each of the orbits in motion. This is the first time that anybody has been able to capture Earth from the view of an astronaut, according to RT.
Their video, which was uploaded on YouTube in the early hours of Wednesday morning, has already taken the internet by storm. Being hailed as the first successful attempt to create a solar system replica on Earth, the video has had more than 100,000 views in less than 22 hours.
It seems like the two friends have finally managed to create a scale replica of our solar system that will be visible from space. Even the astronauts at the International Space Station will be proud of that achievement.
[Photo via To Scale / YouTube]