What would our night sky look like if other planets were as close as the Moon?

The Atlantic has a fantastic piece on the work on space artist Ron Miller, showing pictures of the night sky on Earth with other planets swapped in where the Moon should be. Jupiter is my favorite — if that were hovering over us every night, we’d all have deep inferiority complexes. READ THE REST

Having Neptune up there would be awesome!

I was expecting Jupiter to be bigger. Filling the sky even. I’m probably remembering some similar piece from the surface of a moon orbiting a gas giant.

Indeed. What these images illustrate best is just how distant Moon is from Earth.

that’s definitely not what i thought uranus would look like.

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someone needed to get that out of the way.

It’d be interesting to see what Earth would look like from Earth. Seriously.

This would probably be more accurate


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This is a good start, but something’s not quite right about those images. Moon rock is about as dark as asphalt-- the moon only looks white in the night sky because its reflected light is so much brighter than the blackness of space. And a full moon, especially when it’s at perigee like last week’s supermoon, is bright enough to cast visible shadows.

So, if a planet like Jupiter were as close as the moon, with a much brighter albedo, and covering so much more of the sky, Wouldn’t the sky be as blue as on the brightest sunny day? And the shadows would be different too- soft and broad, thanks to the enormous lightbox in the sky.

You could either take the Venus picture and 'shop the Blue Marble in its place for a pretty good approximation, or you could look for images of Earth from the Apollo missions. There are plenty taken from Lunar orbit, but those are hard to interpret because the Lunar terrain is not familiar and this not a good reference for size. Images taken by astronauts from the surface are pretty awesome, though:


Also this eerie black-and-white crescent Earth from Apollo 14:


The Saturn Theory, the book: http://saturniancosmology.org/
The Saturn Theory, the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu_AL1qDOcU

I’d like to see a picture of what the night sky would look like if Betelgeuse were suddenly at the same distance as the Moon. (Better use a timeline of frames spaced about 2 seconds apart.)

What? No Pluto?! I’m gonna tell Neil deGrasse Tyson!

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It looks like the Earth is just beyond the Roche limit for Jupiter in this configuration, so the tidal forces wouldn’t break the planet in two. It would sit in a position similarly to Io. Until the Earth would be tidally locked with Jupiter (like Io), the oscillating tides would probably rapidly rip apart the crust. It would look pretty to have Jupiter sitting there just up until the point where the fracturing of the crust released enormous lava and ash eruptions which would then blot out the Sun. An alternate cause of death (before the lava and toxic gases got you) would be enormous tidally forced tsunamis.

Think of the tides! And the elevated mixing of the seas! with a more massive object up there. In fact, huge implications for the evolution of the atmosphere…

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