From the March 2010 issue

Glenn Chaple’s Observing Basics: The solar system in a nutshell

May 2010: Bring the scale and distance of these celestial bodies down to size.
By | Published: March 29, 2010
May 2010 solar system
Our solar system is so vast that it’s sometimes difficult to picture. But by creating smaller scales of our cosmic neighborhood, we can begin to comprehend the relative sizes of Earth, the Sun, and the planets.
The International Astronomical Union/Martin Kornmesser

During the course of our telescopic travelings, we routinely visit places like the Moon, the planets, and the Sun, as well as distant stars, nebulae, and galaxies. So vast is the universe that we fail to comprehend the enormity of it all. This month and next, we’ll view “the universe in a nutshell,” as we scale down the size and distance of some currently visible cosmic sights.