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Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 in Science | 4 comments

How Big Is Space? A HUGE Infographic

Just how big is space? The answer to that question, it turns out, is “really, really, really big”. About 27 A4 sheets of paper big in fact.

space-ftThe clever folk (read “space geeks”) in the BBC’s Future office recently challenged themselves to try to illustrate just how big space really is. The question was simply too big to answer effectively, so they settled for trying to illustrate just how big our own Solar System is, and left the rest and further depths of space to be addressed some other time.

Printed out, the graphic spans 27 pages of A4 paper. But even at this size we only managed to get to the edge of our Solar System – known as the heliosphere.

After much effort, significant research and a number of changes in scale, the BBC illustrators managed to get their infographic into the version you’ll find below. (This version has been reduced in size by about 65%. To see the full graphic in its original form, please visit BBC Future here: ).

Even though the graphic only shows our own Solar System, there is over 27 billion kilometres of space between Earth and those outer edges of the heliosphere. Prepare to scroll down. Way, way down. Further than you’ve ever scrolled before. For a long, long time!


Oh, and that’s the Starship Enterprise that is used to measure travel time down the right edge of the graphic. Warp Speed 1 (the slowest of the Warp Drive speeds) is the equivalent of approximately the speed of light, which is roughly 1 billion km/h.

Damn, I’m such a geek! Live long and prosper indeed!


  1. Very Cool. I’d like to suggest we contact Jo’burg tech to see if they could slap together a warp speed enabled Hi-Ace. The idea of another Mauritius trip just seems so droll – lets rather go check out what Voyger 1 looks like after all these years. Kev can bring the beers.

    • Wahahaha! I think the Polokwane Uni of Technology is probably better equipped to deal with the challenge. (And probably better funded through tenderpreneur “donations”).
      Kevin will probably charge us for the beers though…

  2. I have some Windy corners that some oke left at my house, i’ll bring those….and a couple of geniusses,,,,

  3. Oh…and May the 4th be with us on our journey!


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