Scale model of an infinitesimally small spec of the universe in Nevada's Black Rock Desert


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You’re off by just a few orders of magnitude there, Xeni (something like 14 orders of magnitude. Probably more). They made a model of the solar system, not the universe.


Dude. I’ve seen the same movies you have. They’re the same thing.



#Wilford Brimley!




Maybe the first to include the orbits, but there have been many scale models of the solar system built.

Still neat stuff.


It’s totally inspired by the universe song from Meaning of Life.

I love universe songs. Especially ones that can sneak in humor.



Yup. Eric Idle even worked up a modernized version with more accurate numbers a few years ago. It was for Brian Cox’s Wonders of Life series.

True story: When the Galaxy Song was originally written, Idle fudged the numbers from what they currently were measured as back in the early 80s in order to make them fit the meter and rhyme. It turned out that all the fudges were coincidentally closer to the numbers we know today than the measurements from the 80s.



I think the low end of the soundtrack is a bit-- overdone. Listening through Sennheiser HD558s and it sounds unnatural, as if they weren’t paying attention.


Nice, but I like the one up in northern Maine. Nothing like driving through farmland a long time between planets to get an inkling of the scale of things.


but planet walks (or, in your example, drives) are kind of normal, imo the two-dimensional representation of the solar system is very impressive


Uh, guys? Your planets are orbiting the sun in the wrong direction. (Other than that, cool video).


We’re just looking at it from underneath :wink:

At least it’s not as bad as the Daily Show (and tons of stock prerendered CGI elements) showing the Earth rotating backwards. In that case you can see the continents and know which way is north and all that.


Good point, there’s my northern hemisphere privilege showing. :smile:

It’s kind of the opposite point to what these guys are trying to show, but the transit of Venus in 2004 was pretty mindblowing. I’d always taken it for granted that the solar system was so big and the planets so small that you could only resolve them as a point source. That’s how they all look at night, right? So to see Venus as an actual disk with the naked eye (through #14 welder’s glass) was astonishing.


Ever since I started working the night shift a couple of years ago, I’ve taken Niel DeGrasse Tyson’s advice and “keep looking up”. Although I live in the Seattle area, I still am not disappointed. The moon is very pretty just to look at with the naked eye, and I can now identify four of the planets by color and magnitude (I never get to see Mercury, cuz, bedtime is before sunrise, and Uranus is a pain to distinguish from the stars and also there’s waaaaay too much light pollution). I tried to catch the perseids but it was too hazy to see them.

Astronomy’s pretty great though. I’ve been torn between getting a decent telescope and building a new gaming PC.


Somebody held the map upside down, it seems.


and there I thought Aroostook county only made potatoes…