Visualizing the vast distances of space with a 1-pixel moon in a side-scrolling solar-system


Originally published at:


I love the comment under Pluto.


The solar system will be tractable, all right. As soon as we perfect that scaled up EmDrive. :innocent:


Amazing. I must admit I quit after getting to Jupiter. This really makes the distances more understandable.

Love the comments, though.


That’s no moon!


See the little icon at the bottom right? Click it. The map scrolls at the speed of light. It is SOOOOOO SLLLOOOOWWWWWW…


Most of space
Is just space
Get that scruff
Off your face



You win the Internet :exclamation:


They say sometimes people go crazy on these long trips. They get the SPACE MADNESS.


i grok that


That’s a neat idea, if not quite as neat as the author thought when they shew their hi-lariously pithy comments making up the bulk of all matter, but I didn’t feel like it communicated much about scale other than “journeys are long”. You need to see things next to each other to compare them, and a pixel’s not a great reference as it’s point-like.

The funny thing is, you can get a pretty good sense of how big space is – the best sense, at least, that your mind can really grip onto – by looking up at it.


I think you may have expected something other than this intended to be. This is things next to each other to compare them. But not the planets. The distances. next to each other.


True. But if you (or any matter) could actually go the speed of light, time in your reference frame would stand still, and you’d perceive any distance traveled at that speed as instantaneous. Of course you would also have infinite energy, which is nonsensical, but increasingly shorter (in your local reference frame) journeys are possible as you approach the speed of light (or would be if you had a means to get a sizeable fraction of the way to light speed, which we definitely do not). Of course time in the rest of the universe continues to pass at the “normal” rates (disregarding tiny variations due to motion and gravity fields), so there’s still a high cost.


Now, see, if Randall Munroe had designed this, it would have been 2-dimensional, with no landmarks.


Does anyone have a recommendation for a website or iOS app that shows how the seasons are caused by the tilt of the earth?


This has been around for a number of years and I head back to it every once in a while when I need my head blown apart for a few minutes.

For a similar experience, try taking a look at the scale of the universe. This another fantastic use of parallax scrolling to show how mind-boggling big and mind-boggling small our universe is.


I took the family on a bike-tour of this solar system model ( The model is scaled with the Sun the size of a soccer goal. I should have researched the distances ahead of time, as you get through Mars within a few blocks, and then things get sparse. Pluto is over 2h biking.


You can click on the planet symbols on the top of the page to zoom right to the planet you want.

Now, if only we can get an FTL teleporter …


Oh, that? You just grab the puck and drag it along the scrollbar.


“Causality violation in aisle 3! Temporal technician to aisle 3 for paradox cleanup, please.”