What if we had a planet instead of a Moon? Photographer, space artist, illustrator and former art director for the National Air & Space Museum’s Albert Einstein Planetarium, Ron Miller, created a series of very cool images that visualize how the rest of the planets in our solar system would appear if they orbited Earth at the same distance as the Moon.
I’ve posted a number of different data visualizations and infographics that help visualize the sizes of the different planets, and this is a very cool approach that might make the relative sizes more relevant and understandable to a bigger audience that is already used to seeing the Moon in our sky. For comparison, here is the original photo of the Moon:
From Ron’s description:
At a distance of about 240,000 miles, the Moon occupies a space in the night sky about half a degree wide. By sheer coincidence, this is almost exactly the same size the sun appears, which is why we occasionally get total solar eclipses.
But it’s interesting to imagine what the night sky might look like if one of the Solar System’s planets were to replace our moon. (We’d have to ignore things like tides and gravitation, but that’s the advantage of doing things in the mind’s eye.) Saturn would be an astonishing sight. Almost 35 times larger than the Moon, this golden globe would cover nearly 18 degrees of the sky. We’d be a little further away from Saturn than its satellite Dione. In fact, we’d be more likely to be a satellite of Saturn ourselves than the other way around. The rings would stretch nearly from horizon to horizon.
Of course, the gas giant Jupiter is downright scary!
View all of the full size images in Ron’s post on io9!