Frequently Asked Questions
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- What is this site?
- A site that tries to show the true size of our solar system in an accessible way
- Who made this site?
- This site is developed and maintained primarily by a self-proclaimed science and space nerd (or is it geek?). See the About section for details
- OK, why did you make this site?
- As I learned more about outer space, including our solar system, I became more and more aware of the truly mind-boggling distance (nothingness) between objects (planets, Sun, etc.) in space. Almost every depiction of our solar system is wrong - it's just too compact and the objects are just too close in size. I wanted to create something that was accurate. If you're really curious, read a full explanation in the About section
- Who funds this site?
- This site is self-funded. I run a website development business, so I have access to some tools that help keep this site active and current. That being said, there's still a signifcant cost to running and maintaining this site, so the site is supported with (minimal) ads and the SpaceShop
- Can I help support this site?
- Yes! Have a look at the SpaceShop for a unique and artfully selected collection of great solar system pictures (with legends and annotations). You'll get a lovely piece of art, and I'll get a little bit of help keeping the lights on and the coffee flowing :)
- How does the solar system work? What am I seeing?
- When you arrive at the site, the Sun is set to the height of your screen. All of the planet sizes and distances are calculated relative to the Sun and are completely accurate in scale. Most of the info for the calculations comes from Nasa and Wikipedia
- Why are only some moons shown?
- This site only shows major moons of planets (moons greater than 1000 km in diameter). This is because a single pixel is equal to about 1000 km on an average screen
- Why is Pluto shown?
- Pluto is shown as many people still have warm and fuzzy feelings for Pluto (most of us learned there were nine planets in school!). It is also orbiting at the approximate start of the Kuiper Belt, so it's an important landmark and the 2015 New Horizons flyby has given us lots of exciting new data about Pluto
- Eris is about the same size as Pluto. Why isn't it shown?
- Pluto is shown as it represents a Kuiper Belt object and it is at the near-edge of the Kuiper belt (~36 AU from the Sun). Eris is much farther into the Kuiper Belt (~97 AU from the Sun) and, for reasons of distance, can't practically be shown (it would triple the width of the area needed to be shown). Pluto is also shown for nostalgic reasons: Most people grew up with Pluto as the 9th planet, so people are naturally curious as to where it lies and its size
- Can I make a suggestion / correction?
- Sure! I'd love to hear your input. Please understand that this website is a self-funded project: I read all comments and consider all suggestions, but I may not be able to make the changes you suggest due to time and financial constraints
- Warp 5? Really?
- Yup. I wanted a speed fast enough to traverse the solar system to avoid boredom, but not so fast that the distance couldn't be appreciated ... and I'm a Star Trek nerd. Here's one of many sources I looked at to come up with the actual speed for Warp 5: Warp Speed Chart (full disclosure: I'm a ST:TNG nerd, so I used those numbers)