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Flight of Fancy: What the Planets Would Look Like if They Were as Close as the Moon

[node:summary]Artist Ron Miller visualized what the planets would look like at the moon's distance from Earth, with these results.
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Watching planets and stars as they appear in the sky is captivating, but gazing at pinpricks of light glistening against the celestial sphere doesn’t give the heavenward ogler a sense of what these magnificent globes are really like.

Luckily we’ve got the imagination of photographer and avid amateur astronomer Ron Miller on our very own planet. The moon is about 240,000 miles from Earth, as Miller points out in a post at So what would each planet look like if it were the same distance from here? 

To explore that question, Miller superimposed several of the solar system’s seven other planets (it would have been eight, but Pluto has been out of the running for some years now) onto Mother Earth’s sky in succession.

Each shot is of the same highway stretching toward distant mountains, as if one were driving toward the planet in question. The first photo shows a full moon so as to illustrate the scale of what is to come. Then it’s a parade of planets: luminous, glowing Venus; sapphire-colored Neptune and Uranus, ruby-tinged Mars. The gas giants, as one can imagine, are unimaginably enormous. Daunting, even, with Saturn’s rings in particular stretching from one end of the horizon to the other. 

Ron Miller

Mother Earth's faithful satellite, the moon

Ron Miller

Luminescent Venus, second from the sun

Ron Miller

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Fiery red Mars, ruby in the sky

Ron Miller

Sapphire Neptune, a gas giant that's 14 times larger than the moon

Ron Miller

Uranus, robin's egg blue

Ron Miller

Jumpin' Jupiter! In your face!

Ron Miller

Saturn stuns and awes

Get the full effect at, which includes Miller’s vivid descriptions of each planet, read his io9 posts here, and ogle some more of his phantasmogoric illustrations at his website, Black Cat Studios. Images used with permission.