Planet and Star Size Comparison

Via THS Earth/Space Science (a weblog for a 9th-grade science class), I came across this neat animation comparing the relative sizes of planets in our solar system and various stars. It really does a good job!

Humans evolved on Earth, and our brains do a poor job grasping sizes much larger (or much smaller) than that which we’d find in our typical environment. True, we can describe it mathematically, but it’s so difficult to really see the comparison.

Unfortunately, I do not know who the creator of this video is. No credits are given, and a web search was unsucessful. It is perhaps European, based on the spelling of the star names. If anyone has any information, please let me know.

Update: It appears the original video used copyrighted music without permission of the copyright holder, and has been removed. I changed the post to a different version of the video without music.

Update #2: The old link no longer worked (thanks, Sara!) so I updated it.

24 thoughts on “Planet and Star Size Comparison

  1. Thrilling, awesome, and a little bit scary – there is just nothing like these little glimpses into our standing in the universe.

    Excellent stuff – thanks for posting it.

  2. A friend and I were running around the net last week looking at size comparisons of stars, but there was nothing quite as stunning as this. Thanks!

  3. If anyone out there happens to have a copy of the star comparison video, would you please e-mail it to me? Thank you, e-mail is spqr_romeslegacy.
    Thanks again for any help anyone can provide me!

  4. Jeremy, I’m so glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by.

    Roman, while I don’t have a copy to e-mail, I did update the YouTube link. Also, I would advise against posting your e-mail address so openly online. I would be happy to obfuscate it if you like.

  5. It is amazing, isn’t it? What’s even more incredible is that the amount of space between these objects makes their sizes insignificant. I’ll have to write a post about that at some point, but humans really can’t grasp such distances.

  6. This is just what I have been searching for, its is really fantastic.Is it possible to obtain a copy for showing to groups?

  7. Unfortunately, Gordon, I have not been able to determine any additional information about the creator of the video. I would suggest showing the YouTube video in full-screen mode, realizing the resolution will be low.

  8. Well i’m apparently too late. When i click it says video not available. Any idea where I can find it again? I had received an email with “picture” size comparison and am looking for something similar.

  9. I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere, fijl. A table of star sizes would make for a rather uninteresting blog post. This is a blog, not an encyclopedia or almanac.

  10. No womder Antares looks so big even though it is so far away… This really puts it into a perspective… Being a beginner astronomer I am not too firmiliar with all of these stars, but I appreciate this video THANK YOU

  11. This link was good – and bad. You left out Uranus, which is my favourite planet; and that was kind of frustrating. Second of all – VV Cephei A isn’t the biggest star out there, it’s VY Canis Majoris – three hundred suns’ bigger than VV Cephei A. As fijl;few’ said ‘I am very disappointed,’ is how I feel now. WASTE OF MY LIFE.

  12. How tiny our little planet gets. How tiny our sun gets! It could be in orbit around some of these other stars and we would not be able to detect it! It would be a solar system within a solar system! How cool is that?

  13. → Gary Yes, it helps put things into perspective, doesn’t it? Though at the distance these stars are from us, you won’t be able to determine differences in radius just by looking at them. If Antares looks larger, that’s probably because it’s brighter.

    → Cosmologist It is highly unlikely the creators of the video are monitoring the comments on my blog post, so leaving comments for them here probably contributes further to the time you apparently feel you are wasting. That being said, Uranus and Neptune have nearly the same radius, so I can understand leaving one out. VY Canis Majoris is likely larger than VV Cephei A, true, though this claim is still controversial. Furthermore, the estimated range of their radii overlaps to some degree. Finally, I don’t believe the video makes the claim that VV Cephei A is the largest star.

    → Rob Is quite common for stars to orbit each other; in fact, it is likely that most stars in our galaxy are part of binary or higher-order star systems. That being said, our sun appears to be alone. In general, the stars featured in the video are too far from our sun to exert a significant enough gravitational effect. Of course, our sun, along with the rest of the stars in our galaxy, revolve around the center of mass of the Milky Way (it takes the sun about 225–250 million years to complete one orbit).

  14. “Good stuff” I have seen a few different videos on youtube with comparison videos, I have seen most of them, really cool with the Pink Floyd music
    I feel like a germ watching this stuff

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