If the Planets were as close as the Moon, what would the sky at night look like?

The moon over the waterfront at Liverpool.

So, I got to thinking, how big would Jupiter appear in the night sky, if it were as close to Earth as the moon is.

This involved some calculations, based on a number of variables: the distance from the earth to the moon (384,400 km / 238,610 miles), the diameter of the planets and the focal length of the lens used for the image of the Liverpool waterfront.

The final set of images make for interesting viewing and give a good impression of the relative size of the planets, but if you are planning a trip to the moon, the accuracy of these images is not intended for scientific calculations! And, of course, if a planet as big as the gas giant Jupiter were as close as the moon, the world would be entirely unrecognisable, compared to its current appearance.


Having said that, if you take the images for what they are, (ie an “artist’s impression”) then they are great fun! As wonderful as our moon is, imagine looking up into the night sky and seeing the big blue globe of Neptune, and Saturn with its rings looks spectacular!

There’s also an added bonus photograph as if the Earth had a twin – what the Earth would look like from the Earth!

Images of starfield and planets – Creative Commons licence from www.nasa.gov

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