For some years I’ve had a column by Marilyn vos Savant on the refrigerator about what she calls a “Stellar Salad.” It goes like this: If the sun were a pumpkin 1 ft in diameter, Mercury would be a tomato seed about 50 feet away
Venus, pea, 75 feet away
Earth, pea, 100 feet away
Mars, raisin, 175 feet away
Jupiter, apple, 550 feet away
Saturn, peach, 1025 feet away
Uranus, plum, 2050 feet away
Neptune, plum, 3225 feet away
Pluto, smaller than a strawberry seed, nearly a mile away
Recently my 8-year-old has gotten very interested in astronomy. We wrote this on the whiteboard and he started drawing it, attempting to draw it to scale. His older brother–who very nearly did not graduate from high school because of awful grades–came over to watch football, looked at the distances, and said, “that’s messed up.” (Note: I am not saying he’s not smart. Just that he never paid attention in class.)
He then proceeded to fill the whiteboard with all sorts of calculations proving the smartest woman in the world wrong.
Or so he said. I frankly do not know enough math to even follow his theories, although he seemed to know what he was talking about. His conclusion was that the celestial bodies involved would be much smaller.
All those years I’d assumed Ms. vos Savant was correct. My only quibble with it had been that she called it “Stellar Salad” when the only star involved was the sun. I would have called it “Celestial salad,” had I been the editor.
Much knowledge exists on this board. Who is right, the smartest woman in the world, or my middle son?