This Viral Video Shows What We Would See If Planets Replaced the Moon

Isabel Garcia
Photo credit: Yeti Dynamics - YouTube
Photo credit: Yeti Dynamics - YouTube

From Prevention

A few times a year, skywatchers can look forward to supermoons, which appear larger and shine brighter than standard full moons. While the last supermoon of the year happened in May, you don't have to wait until 2021 to see an incredible celestial sight—this video animation shows what the sky would look like if the planets in our solar system replaced the moon.

Motivated by curiosity, amateur astronomer Nicholas Holmes created animations to show what the sky would look like if planets orbited Earth at the same distance as the moon, Business Insider reported. Using 3ds Max software to edit a video he took of a street in Alabama, Holmes replaced the moon with Mars, Venus, Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn, based on their respective sizes. Since Holmes posted the video on YouTube in 2013, it's gone viral several times, recently gaining interest again. After watching the video, it's easy to see why people continue to find it fascinating. As cars drive down an ordinary road, the planets rise up and envelop the blue sky like a scene from a sci-fi movie.

Not only is the animation visually entertaining, but it's also correctly scaled. Planetary scientist James O'Donoghue confirmed the video's accuracy, tweeting that he checked the math and the apparent sizes of the planets in the animation are correct. While the math is accurate, the video doesn't show what might actually happen if the planets were that close to Earth. For instance, Jupiter's proximity would cause crazy tides, volcanoes, and radiation, according to the description in the video. Holmes includes answers to other frequently asked questions in the video's description, too. Wondering why Mercury isn't in the animation? Holmes didn't want to include it because it's not significantly larger than our moon.

Want to learn more about all of our solar system's planets? NASA's new site lets you virtually explore space.

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