Ron Miller
This is what Jupiter would look like if it were as close as the moon, according to illustrator Ron Miller.

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

May 18, 2013

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. 

Mother Earth's faithful satellite, the moon (Ron Miller)
Luminescent Venus, second from the sun (Ron Miller)
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 (Ron Miller)

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.



Ray Cabarga's picture
Ray Cabarga
Submitted by Ray Cabarga on

Couple of problems, Ron. Uranus only appears that color because of the high methane content which when seen over the vast expanses of space blocks out red light. From that distance I'm pretty sure we would see it's true color, and its three vertical rings which would appear to wrap around its poles because its ecliptic puts it at a 90 degree angle to us. Same color deal with Neptune. Saturns rings would slice a gash in the earth that would probably end all life as we know it, at that distance. And at that distance we'd be sucked into Jupiters gaseous atmosphere by its enormous gravity (If it didn't actually intersect us) Also these gas giants have dozens of moons, some almost as big as us that would cause some collisions on the 405 fer sher. Pretty though.