What would the horizon look like if you could swap the moon for each of the other planets?  A full moon completely dominates the night sky… imagine if Jupiter were as close to Earth as the moon?

Notwithstanding gravitational forces, this is what the night sky might look like…

 

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The Moon on the horizon…
venus-instead-of-the-moon-s
If Venus were in place of the moon…
mars-instead-of-the-moon-s
If Mars was in place of the moon…
jupiter-instead-of-the-moon-s
If Jupiter were in place of the moon…
saturn-instead-of-the-moon-s
If Saturn was in place of the moon…
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If Uranus was in place of the moon…
neptune-instead-of-the-moon-s
If Neptune was in place of the moon…

Image Sources:  io9

And then, take a moment to watch a video of the same…

Scale from Brad Goodspeed on Vimeo.

EDIT:  To clarify Jupiter’s perspective, the following infographic was added, courtesy of Space Facts.

Jupiter would stretch 20 degrees across the sky. It would also look a little different from the telescopic and spacecraft photos we’re used to seeing. This close, we’d be looking “up” at the northern hemisphere and “down” at the southern hemisphere, so the cloud bands would be distinctly curved in perspective. In fact, we’d not be able to see the north and south poles of the planet.

To visualize Jupiter taking the place of our Moon, we really have to use our imaginations, as Brad described in his description for the Scale video above.

the planets to scale
A graphic showing all 8 planets in our solar system, Mercury through to Neptune, to scale where one pixel = 279.6 km. Scales were worked out with this very useful solar system scale calculator. Find out more about the planets on the Planet Facts page. http://space-facts.com/the-planets-to-scale/
  • Jupiter is bigger than all the other planets combined, it would be much bigger than depicted here, it would cover the horizon, yet you picture it as just a bit bigger than Saturn, better get your ruler out and remeasure.

    • Carlos – you’re right, but the issue is that the scale doesn’t really show properly in this kind of image. From the io9 website, they said: “Jupiter would trump them all. Forty times larger than the Moon, Jupiter would stretch 20 degrees across the sky. It would also look a little different from the telescopic and spacecraft photos we’re used to seeing. This close, we’d be looking “up” at the northern hemisphere and “down” at the southern hemisphere, so the cloud bands would be distinctly curved in perspective. In fact, we’d not be able to see the north and south poles of the planet.”

      I’ve added another image to the post to show the actual scale to help clarify.

  • The video makes a much better comparison.

  • Jay

    If Jupiter were as close as Luna, you would see nothing…because you would be dead…because Jupiter’s gravity would break the Earth into asteroids. Check out The Roch Limit.