VY Canis Majoris

Has anyone modeled Earth in relation to VY Canis Majoris? I was trying to wrap my head around the size comparison, even though I know this is an impossible task. I thought if the two objects existed in one virtual reality space, and I could turn my head left and see Earth, and turn my head right and see VYCM, that might help.

Then I realized this is kind of possible in SketchUp. Has anyone modeled anything like this? I know it’s just two spheres of different diameters, set a certain distance apart. But I figured it was worth asking.

I don’t think this is practical for a bunch of reasons, not all of them related to SketchUp.

Unless your viewing position is close enough, they will each look like a speck, which wouldn’t be useful for what you describe (hmm, looking left I see a dot - which is it? Doesn’t it matter which way up I am?). But you can’t be located that close to both of them at the same time! So, you would need to greatly distort their relative scales to be able to see them both at the same time and to tell them apart. For realism, the VR scaling would have to change if your viewer moved nearer to or farther away from one.

The direction of look toward them changes with your viewing position. For a distant object, the direction is effectively constant. But get closer and the direction to the nearer one will be more sensitive to your position. I doubt any VR setup could deal with the required calculations except in limited situations such as near earth and far from the star.

As a purely technical matter, SketchUp was not designed to deal with inter-stellar distances. If you modeled to true size, SketchUp would choke. You would surely have graphics issues causing the view to seem blank.


I made a scale model of the Solar System (1:400,000,000). When I zoom back to include everything, only the Sun is visible. The other planets are minuscule by comparison.


I had a hard time finding everything else in relation to the Sun. Then I realized why. This is amazing, thank you for making it and sharing it!

(Photo is the Sun and Earth from your model)

1 Like