The other day I had an idea for a potential new Illogical product. What if I could find a way to visualize the Earth’s orbit in a way that is both unique and scientifically accurate? I thought maybe I could use some fun math to help me out.
The diameter of the Earth is 7,918 miles. In addition to that, the Earth’s average distance from the sun is about 93,000,000 miles. So my question was this: if two people stood on opposite ends of the earth and aimed a laser at the sun, what angle would their beams meet at? In addition to that, I wanted to get a nice visualization of the math as it pertained to Earth’s orbit (remember, that was the original goal) so I wanted to know what an arc of that measure would look like. By cutting that angle out of a circle, we could get an approximate visualization of how much perceivable curvature the Earth’s orbit has over the distance that the Earth occupies on it. In other words, if you bent a giant wire in a circle around the Sun so that it matched up perfectly with the Earth’s orbit (yes, I know the Earth doesn’t orbit in a circle, but remember we are averaging here), what would the section of that wire that actually intersects our planet look like?