The size of the solar system if Earth were the volume of a basketball

Originally published at:


If it were the size of a basketball we would all be crushed to oblivion as the gravity of the earth immense, with the density approaching Black Hole levels. Get it down to a marble and it would be a black hole.


but what if the earth were banana shaped?


Don’t be silly. If that was the case then we’d have to worry about giant space monkeys and nobody wants to go there.


Then the entirety of humanity would be rendered helpless and vulnerable, since all we’d be able to do is just look at it.


What if I were attacked with a pint of strawberries?

And if the earth were the size of a basketball, then the entire biosphere, to scale, would be a coat of paint on that basketball.


If the earth were the size of a basketball, that could explain Worlds in Collision.

Then we’d be living in the Levoy’s Star system, and earth would be an…Integral Banana. “Fire up the CARM, honey, or we’ll be late getting to Citizens’ Banana!”


NB – yeah, I know bananas don’t grow on trees, but work with me here ; -). Plus, banana plants have corms, and the integral trees have some CARMs, so it all fits if you squint just right…


Look at it. Just look at it.


where is the Oort cloud?

Yup. Well, the atmosphere would extend about 2mm off the surface.

But the Earth is clearly not the size of a basketball, is it? It’s a little bitty marble. We learned that back in October.

Or a pointed stick?

I found this website a while ago, it really drives home the amount of empty space in between objects in our solar system.

It’s called: If the Moon were just one pixel…


If you somehow compressed the Earth to an Earth-mass black hole, it’s gravitational field at any given distance from the center would be unchanged (though there would be nothing for us to stand on way up here at current-sea-level).

Also, sufficiently large mass black holes can be arbitrarily low density, since mass goes as r^3 and gravitational pull goes as 1/r^2. Supermassive black holes can be less dense than water.

1 Like

So the traffic from Earth to Saturn would be as bad as from San Francisco to Santa Clara. Man, that’s nasty

1 Like

While I agree that if the Earth suddenly became a black hole, the moon would still keep going around like nothing happened.

The rest of what you said, I guess I am going to have to read more. So you’re saying if the earth was compressed to a basketball, aside from it probably being super hot, and a person was next to it, they would just be comically stuck to this basketball? If it was spinning, comically stuck to a spinning basketball? If it was spinning quickly, tragically stuck to a spinning basketball?


Gravitationally, nothing would change no matter how much you compress the mass. Of course conservation of momentum and adiabatic heating aren’t accounted for.

And probably, since the earth’s density isn’t perfectly uniform, but assuming that the applied compression is, you might get interesting gravitational radiation effects from the rapidly spinning non homogeneous mass.

That really stings, frankly. I mean, after all we’ve been through together…

1 Like