The scale of Saturn, redux

The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 27 2011 7:00 AM

The scale of Saturn, redux

A few days ago, I posted an incredible picture of Saturn taken from Cassini, showing the partially-lit planet and two of its moons. I used this picture to point out the massive scale of Saturn and its moons, something it's easy to forget when you're scanning all the amazing images.

BA Bloggee Matt Andrews liked the post, but thought it needed more. He took the picture from Cassini and added a map of the United States to it. I thought it was pretty cool, and so just in case you were having a hard time grasping just how frigging huge Saturn is, this ought to blow you away:

Advertisement

Ye. GADS. Astonishing, isn't it? That scale looks about right to me. I know how big the US is; I've driven across it several times, and it's a heckuva trip. To see it dwarfed like this is simply incredible.

So when I post these pictures and talk about how mind-boggingly ginormous these objects are, even the familiar ones, keep this in mind: I'm not kidding. Space is big.


Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!