Joe Hanson | News | Space

How Big is the Solar System? - VIDEO


PBS' resident smartpants Joe Hanson says it's so big our puny human brains can't really fathom it so he's out in the field (literally) with a grapefruit to show us its real size.


And, in breaking planet news, Neptune has a new moon, its 14th!

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. I like this guy he's fun and informative.

    Posted by: bructer | Jul 15, 2013 2:59:17 PM

  2. Nerds rule.

    Posted by: JONES | Jul 15, 2013 2:59:57 PM

  3. I liked this too. And I thank him for (semi-)including Pluto.

    Posted by: dw | Jul 15, 2013 3:22:28 PM

  4. LOVE this stuff!!!

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jul 15, 2013 3:38:36 PM

  5. The New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto in two years and is already sending back photos.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 15, 2013 5:09:12 PM

  6. In Ithaca New York you'll find the Carl Sagen Memorial which does this, only way better. Each of the solar system objects, starting with the sun, is represented to scale and the planets (also to scale) are embedded in Lucite blocks. It's a long walk out to the end.

    Posted by: RWG | Jul 15, 2013 5:25:54 PM

  7. there's a fabulous to scale depiction of the solar system at Arecibo radiotelescope in Puerto rico. unbelievable

    Posted by: t | Jul 15, 2013 5:29:53 PM

  8. Loved his conclusion that, in effect, human consciousness by the reach of its wonder and expanding comprehension is far "larger" than not just the solar system but than the whole universe which is, in effect, subsumed by us as we learn of it. Though we may not be able to get there yet our knowledge of it instantaneously puts it within our "grasp". That makes us immesurably significant, not insignificant.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jul 15, 2013 9:45:54 PM

  9. But did he have to use the metric system to describe distances?

    Posted by: Larry | Jul 15, 2013 11:21:44 PM

  10. This video would have been much more informative to the public in general, if he remembered the USA is imperial based not metric.

    Posted by: brian | Jul 16, 2013 12:02:28 AM

  11. The demotion of Pluto is unacceptable.

    Posted by: Manny Espinola | Jul 16, 2013 1:31:23 AM

  12. MANNY - At least they left Ur-anis alone.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jul 16, 2013 2:48:04 AM

  13. Actually, the US isn't Imperial, it uses US Customary which is based on units used by King George III, our former British ruler, rather than the improvements of 1824 known as Imperial, which we rejected. However, in recent times (1893) Customary has been secretly based on the metric system. A foot is actually 0.3048 m exactly, and all other distances derive from this.

    Posted by: JohnS | Jul 16, 2013 7:35:56 AM

  14. Carl Sagan was a stud. He lived across from our fraternity house in Ithaca (Delta Chi, if you must know.) Spoke to him a few times. I kinda had a crush I think.

    Great idea. I like how astronomy has a place on towleroad. Gives it texture.

    Posted by: Rob | Jul 16, 2013 8:08:15 AM

  15. But he should have used a large object to simulate the sun, which is very large. By starting with a grapefruit and going to ever smaller comparisons, he muddles the point about distance. I would start with a large exercise ball as the sun, then go to golf ball, etc. He has the scale all wrong.

    Posted by: Rob | Jul 16, 2013 8:14:22 AM

  16. All the complaining about 'scale' by gay men...whom we all know NEVER get 'size' wrong online.... shut up and enjoy the nice Vid. Jeez

    Posted by: Lee | Jul 16, 2013 10:52:42 AM

  17. The Metric System is the universal mesauring system in science worldwide. The US is the only industrialized nation that hasn't adopted it as its measuring standard. Which is sad, because it's way easier to use.

    Posted by: Raybob | Jul 16, 2013 11:22:24 AM

  18. Solar Savings America is an organization dedicated to promoting the message that solar power is indeed both a clean and
    cost saving solution for most consumers and businesses.
    We believe that solar energy plays a large role in our future as economic
    and political uncertainties impact the cost of energy.

    Posted by: solar | Sep 8, 2013 2:13:55 AM

  19. This is adorable! I will definetly play it for my kids when they get back from school. continue

    Posted by: 3D Printer | May 13, 2014 10:50:30 PM

Post a comment


« «'Ex-Gay Pride Month' Cancelled Due To 'Anti-Ex-Gay Extremism'« «