Something is out there creating odd orbits, and scientists recently gave it a name. “Planet Nine,” once called “Planet X,” is the theoretical source of gravity beyond the Kuiper Belt. (You can read all about it in our earlier report.) It the planet does exist, it would be pretty far away from us, and it’s sometimes hard to imagine those scales. A new video from Mark Rober, who worked at NASA for nine years, uses household objects and a football field (as well as a big chunk of a city) to show us exactly how far away the planet that replaced Pluto in our hearts is from Earth and from our sun.
Rober explained in the video notes: “I heart space but sometimes it can be hard to comprehend. I try to fix that in this video with junk you can find lying around your house. Also, if you’ve wondered how there could be a ninth planet that we’ve never noticed till now I try to clear that up too by demonstrating just how impossibly far away it is.”
Here’s some info on Planet Nine from Rober for you. It’s ten times more massive than Earth. It’s a a hundred billion kilometers away and it takes fifteen thousand years to orbit the sun once. That’s one hell of a year! The video is great at explaining this massive solar system of ours.
It begins by letting you know that your lack of understanding of the scale of it doesn’t make you weird. Rober shows us that most of the pictures and diagrams we’ve been working off of since we were children really don’t give a true sense of distances between planets. But the video’s scale is much easier to grasp, using a football field and some stuff found around the house. For instance, Earth is the size of the head of a pin and would be at the 26 yard line. Our moon is a grain of salt. Neptune is the size of a pea and is almost eight football fields away from the sun. And the drone gives us a really cool view of the distances and the relative size of the planets in comparison.
Check out the video above to see the astonishing amount of time you’d have to walk to reach Planet Nine in relation to the soccer ball sun. It’s staggering.
So, are you over Pluto being demoted? Do you also heart space? How badly do you wish you had Rober as a science teacher when you were in school? Tweet me/us @JennaBusch/@Nerdist and let us know your thoughts. Suggest a name for our distant neighbor! Planet Nine just doesn’t have much of a ring to it.
HT: Mark Rober
Image credit: YouTube