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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第30期:走进太阳系(8)

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Now the first thing you are likely to realize is that space is extremely well named and rather dismayingly uneventful. Our solar system may be the liveliest thing for trillions of miles, but all the visible stuff in it—the Sun, the planets and their moons, the billion or so tumbling rocks of the asteroid belt, comets, and other miscellaneous drifting detritus—fills less than a trillionth of the available space.
你可能首先意识到,空间这个名字起得极其恰当,空间是个平淡无奇的地方。在几万亿公里范围内,最充满生气的要算我们的太阳系,而所有可看得见的东西--太阳、行星及其卫星、小行星带的上亿块翻滚的岩石、彗星和别的各种飘浮的碎石--仅仅充满不足现有空间的万亿分之一。
走进太阳系.jpgYou also quickly realize that none of the maps you have ever seen of the solar system were remotely drawn to scale. Most schoolroom charts show the planets coming one after the other at neighborly intervals—the outer giants actually cast shadows over each other in many illustrations—but this is a necessary deceit to get them all on the same piece of paper. Neptune in reality isn't just a little bit beyond Jupiter, it's way beyond Jupiter—five times farther from Jupiter than Jupiter is from us, so far out that it receives only 3 percent as much sunlight as Jupiter.
你还很快意识到,你所见到的太阳系图是根本不按比例制作的。在教室里的大多数图上,行星们一颗挨着一颗,相距很近--在许多插图里,外侧巨星的影子实际上落在彼此身上--但是,为了把所有的行星画在同一张纸上,这种骗术也是必不可少的。海王星其实不是在土星以外一点儿,而是在土星以外很远的地方--它离土星的距离比土星离我们的距离还要远5倍。它在外面那么遥远的地方,接受的阳光只有土星的3%。
Such are the distances, in fact, that it isn't possible, in any practical terms, to draw the solar system to scale. Even if you added lots of fold-out pages to your textbooks or used a really long sheet of poster paper, you wouldn't come close.
实际上,距离是那么遥远,无论如何不可能按比例来画太阳系图。即使你在教科书里增加许许多多折页,或者使用长得不得了的标语纸,你也无法接近这个比例。
On a diagram of the solar system to scale, with Earth reduced to about the diameter of a pea, Jupiter would be over a thousand feet away and Pluto would be a mile and a half distant (and about the size of a bacterium, so you wouldn't be able to see it anyway). On the same scale, Proxima Centauri, our nearest star, would be almost ten thousand miles away. Even if you shrank down everything so that Jupiter was as small as the period at the end of this sentence, and Pluto was no bigger than a molecule, Pluto would still be over thirty-five feet away.
在一张成比例的太阳系图上,如果将地球的直径缩小到大约一粒豆子的直径,土星便会在300多米以外,冥王星会在2.5公里外的远处(约为一个细菌的大小,因此你怎么也看不见它)。按照同样的比例,离我们最近的恒星比邻星会在1.6万公里以外。即使你把一切都加以缩小,土星会像英文的句点那么小,冥王星不超过分子的个儿,那么冥王星依然在10多米以外。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
scale [skeil]
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n. 鳞,刻度,衡量,数值范围
v. 依比例决
 
cast [kɑ:st]
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v. 投,掷,抛,铸造,丢弃,指定演员,加起来,投射(目
 
diagram ['daiəgræm]
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n. 图解,图表
vt. 用图解法表示
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molecule ['mɔlikju:l]
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n. 分子
 
diameter [dai'æmitə]
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n. 直径
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visible ['vizəbl]
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adj. 可见的,看得见的
n. 可见物
 
detritus [di'traitəs]
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n. 碎石,碎屑,瓦砾
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poster ['pəustə]
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n. 海报,装饰画
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extremely [iks'tri:mli]
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adv. 极其,非常
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available [ə'veiləbl]
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adj. 可用的,可得到的,有用的,有效的
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