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12 volume set of books shows how incredibly vast our Solar System

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first_imgOur Solar System is, essentially, unfathomably large. We can do visualizations, charts, and all sorts of other things to try to better understand just how large it is, but at the end of the day there really isn’t a great way to comprehend that sort of distance (or numbers that large for that matter). One valiant attempt to demonstrate the distance from the Sun to Pluto is called “Astronomical”. It’s a set of twelve 500 pages books that are a scale model of our solar system.With the Sun on page one and Pluto appearing 6000 pages later, you can understand just how much space there is between the two. Each page represents one million kilometers (621,371 miles).Earth, seen above, appears on page 155… just 96,312,505 miles from the Sun, using the book’s numbers. (From what I can tell the book uses average distances, as opposed to the aphelion [farthest] or perihelion [closest] distances of a body’s orbit.)Of course kilometers and miles aren’t the best way to talk about distances like this, but neither is light years — they are too large for our humble Solar System. The best measurement is — as all you space geeks out their know — the astronomical unit. An AU is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun, or about 92,955,807 miles. That’s more like 150 pages in Astronomical, but a 12 volume work has a lot more impact than a 40 page one. Plus AUs bring us back to the original problem with all this: 93 million (miles or anything else) is not a number we can easily process.Above you can one of the 12 books being flipped through. The main things you’ll notice is the demonstrator’s wonderfully manicured hands empty space between each body. Is it easier to take in than 32.1 AU or 2.98388399 × 109 miles… unless if you’re a computer.Astronomical was a project by Mishka Henner. They can be ordered — print-on-demand — from his site for £100 (shipping not included).via New Scientistlast_img read more