Kibitzing kitchen table 7/17/2022: to scale

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A couple of young filmmakers, with excellent names Wylie Overstreet and Alex Goroshwere taken with Apollo 15 astronaut quote Jim Irwin comparing the earth to “the most beautiful marble you can imagine”. But they realized that while the earth is scaled to the size of a marble, a scale diagram of the solar system has never appeared on a page and never will. They decided to build one in the Nevada desert. [7:06]


They added a little “making of” video to show off some of their behind-the-scenes struggles. [3:24]


This diary is about solar systems to scale, but since the folks at “To Scale” only have two other videos on their channel, let me digress and insert them here, because they’re good.

In this one, they drag their giant telescope through the streets of Los Angeles and invite people to look at the moon. The good news is that most adults have no idea, and if you show them, they’re amazed and fascinated. The bad news is that most adults just don’t have a clue, and we sure haven’t gotten the public schools to teach people things. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s something-something-‘Republicans out of office’. [3:18]


The latest was in 2017, just before the last total solar eclipse visible over the Americas. Long-time readers may recall that I chose to go there rather than go to NN that year and see my beloved friends.

I love you all, but I’m happy with my choice. To quote this video, “The reason to see an eclipse isn’t because it’s rare. It’s because of how it will make you feel. I was beautiful jaded about partial eclipses, but I decided totality might be cool. I can’t describe the feeling. Next total eclipse: April 8, 2024. Be there if you can! [3:06]


Back to the scale of the solar system! Jared Belchervsurator of the Digital Astronaut Channelbegan his scaling with a soccer ball sun on his alma mater’s soccer field, Carson–Newman University (a Baptist college in Tennessee, so science! Good for them!) [8:10]


Sweden is on the case with the world’s largest permanent scale model of the solar system, the “Swedish solar systemlaunched by Nils Brenning from the Royal Stockholm Institute of Technology and Gösta Gahm from Stockholm University. The 1:20,000,000 scale model uses Stockholm’s Avicii Arena as the sun and includes LOTS more bodies than our guide has time to visit. See this link to his Wikipedia page for a full list and map of SWEDEN showing all the bodies depicted. Scaling »termination shockis 590 miles from the “sun”. [7:34]


The SciShow Space video isn’t about our scale, it’s about our weirdness. [6:36]


Finally, because I know the people at KTK like nice machines, this is just a short wordless demo of a planet nine NOT to scale planetary (with moons!) directed by Staines & Son Orrery Makers. Look at the gear of this puppy! I can’t help but notice that no mention is made on their website of the price of any of their work, which I’m sure falls into the “if you have to ask” category. It’s just genius watchmaking. [1:32]


Later that day: because it illustrates the “solar system not to scale” problem, I steal it from John Cleese, @TerribleMaps and BeeD in the Tweets of the week thread.



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