Friday, August 8, 2014

Comet 67P Size Comparisons

As the ESA Rosetta probe approached it's target, Comet 67P (67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko), I was having a tough time grasping the scale of this object. 

In response to @ObservingSpace tweeting a picture of 67P, I suggested comparing it to major cities. 

I did the same to the ESA and Emily Lakdawalla, who blogs for The Planetary Society. 

There was no response. 

I knew there were others far more talented than me, but I decided to put something together. I grabbed some images of 67P from the ESA, an older one with a 2km scale and the latest one without, and, in PowerPoint, adjusted the images to match so that I would have a scale on the latest image. 

I then went to Google Maps and took a screenshot of a map of Manhattan with a 500m scale. Adjusting the scales to match, I had 67P superimposed on Central Park. 

I tweeted this including ESA and Emily Lakdawalla and also Phil Plait, with little response. 
I then tried DC and San Francisco. 

Turning my sites to Europe, since the mission is through the ESA, I thought of another big rock, Gibraltar, this time using Google Earth:

But then I hit upon an idea that strangely was more useful than reality: Star Trek. 

I remembered being fascinated by a website called Jeff Russell's STARSHIP DIMENSIONS at where spacecraft from Sci Fi were drawn to scale. 

I sized several Star Trek stations and ships and came up with this:
I tweeted again to the same audience, but at that time I noticed William Shatner was tweeting with the ESA, so I sent the photo to him and was excited to get a re-tweet (to his 1.9 million followers):
I have my phone set to send me a text every time I get favorited and retweeted on Twitter, so the rest of the day my phone was buzzing constantly.

A few other retweets shared the picture with an even wider audience, and the number of retweets of these and the original built up. 

Life is back to normal with only a trickle of notifications now. But it was exciting while it lasted. 

I have since made a few more comparisons and realized that a black background looks better. 

Here's the latest gallery: