Anyone who says that size doesn’t matter should take a look at this:

One million Earths: A visual representation of how many Earths could fit inside the sun pic.twitter.com/Eq3qpl7Log

— Mike Whitmore (@mikewhitmore) January 29, 2015

Those tiny blue balls are representative of the Earth, while the larger clear ball containing them represents the Sun. To be exact, 1.3 million Earths could fit inside of the Sun. That’s no surprise, since the Sun is enormous and contains 99.86% of all the mass in the solar system.

What is surprising, according to a Reddit post, is the image above. The redditors hotly debated whether that image is actually one million tiny, blue balls or if this image is an imposter.

Humans have a hard time estimating the exact number of items in a group, and the higher the number of items, the worse our guesses become. This trait is called subitizing, and it means we can’t intuitively know if there are 500,000 of those blue balls, one million, or some other amount.

So, the maths-savvy redditors crunched the numbers to find out if there could actually be one million blue balls in that modestly-sized sphere.

A handful of redditors conclude that, technically, it’s possible.

One redditor, maximinus-thrax, measured the pixel sizes of a single blue ball and the larger sphere on the computer. After that, the redditor could calculate the volume of space inside the larger sphere if it were empty, and determined that there was enough space for all one million of the small balls to snugly fit.

The question of it being practical, and therefore real, was another matter. Redditor sempersexi:

I don’t buy it. 1 million marbles at $US.01=$US10k. That’s a car.

Another redditor, climberman, was sceptical for another reason:

What is incomprehensible to me is how they close that sphere without spilling the little earth’s.

One possible explanation, from Erucarana, is:

I’m gonna say that they just glued a layer of the balls on the inside of the sphere. It looks like it splits in half when it opens, that would be hell trying to fill it without everything falling out.

Whether the image is real or not, it does get its facts straight: Earth is incredibly, unimaginably small.

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