Here’s another beautiful attempt to bring the immensity of space into perspective: Filmmakers Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet created an accurately-scaled representation of our solar system in the Nevada desert.
Starting with the Earth as the size of a marble, it turns out you need an area about 7 miles (11.2km) to squeeze in the orbit of the outermost planet, Neptune. The team used glass spheres lit by LEDs and some GPS calculations to map out the solar system on the dry bed of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Once nighttime arrived they shot a timelapse from a nearby mountain that accurately reflects the distance of each orbital path at a scale of roughly 1:847,638,000. Amazing.
I find something really poetic, and almost intimist, in this ‘analog’ approach of representing the planets and sun using real props instead of computer graphics. It somehow brings the warmth of the human scale to the staggering distances bridging us from the rest of the Universe. Humbling and beautiful at the same time.
And now that I’m writing this, for some reason I’m reminded of the Nazca lines in Peru, imagining pictures of pilgrims holding torches and walking round the sacred desert glyphs, on some ancient ceremony…