Watch This Stunning Simulation of What Our Sky Would Look Like if Planets Replaced the Moon
It seems like the stuff of science fiction to see huge planets wheeling across the sky, but that's exactly what amateur astronomer Nicholas Holmes did for a series of YouTube simulations that have repeatedly gone viral since their debut, according to Business Insider.
Holmes spliced together video taken in Huntsville, AL, with 3D animations of the planets – except for Mercury, which is roughly the size of the Moon and wouldn't make much of a difference in our sky.
If you want to create a hands-on comparison for yourself, Holmes told Business Insider, "A simple demonstration is to hold out a dime at arm's length. That's about the diameter of the moon…If you hold out a dinner plate, that's about the size of Jupiter. Maybe it doesn't take up the 'entire sky,' but it's pretty darn big."
Watch the first video set during daylight below. (Scroll down for the second video at night.)
Of course, if those planets were actually as close as the Moon, we'd be in for a world of trouble. Scientists predict Earth would look a lot like Jupiter's moon, Io. The gas giant's massive gravitational force is constantly warping Io's surface by up to 330 feet. That friction generates so much heat and pressure within the moon that it actually spews lava into space.
As JAXA planetary scientist James O'Donoghue told Business Insider, "Earth's mantle and crust would be gravitationally attracted to Jupiter and break apart like crème brûlée…Volcanic activity on Earth would be the stuff of a disaster movie."
Here's the second video showing what it would look like at night: