Astrophysicists present very realistic maps of the Earth, Moon and Mars

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Cartographers and other researchers have been wondering how to flatten the Earth on a world map without distorting angles and distances too much for a very long time. Of American astrophysicists recently presented a solution: a round double-sided card. Among other things, these researchers have also adapted their model for the Moon, the planet Mars.

A double-disc Earth model

With all due respect to the supporters of the flat earth, our planet is indeed round (or rather potatoïdal). For a very long time, experts in cartography have been looking for solutions to represent the Earth in 2D in the best possible way. In a statement published on February 15, 2021, astrophysicists from Princeton University (United States) unveiled their new representation. This is a double-sided round card (double-disc).

One of the researchers behind the map, Richard Gott rightly points out that a map cannot be perfect. However, the precision relating to reality depends on the choice of projection. For example, the Mercator projection is much less realistic than the Peters projection. In 2018, Google Maps swapped the first for the second. It should also be remembered that the Mercator projection is still displayed and presented a lot in classrooms, and this, despite its geopolitical overtones dating from another century.

Here is the projection of the Earth proposed by these American astrophysicists:

Credits: Credits: Princeton University

Very small distortions compared to reality

The goal? Obtain a map with as few errors as possible. This round map therefore displays the northern hemisphere on one side and the southern hemisphere on the other. The researchers explained that the distances shown on the map never deviate from more than 22.2% of reality, which is truly exceptional. Let’s also mention the fact that the regions of the edge of the map are only 1.57 times larger than those in the center. Thus, it is therefore the map most faithfully reproducing the real distances on Earth.

In their full report, astrophysicists say they have adapted their double-disc model to other stars. Let us quote the Moon, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Io (satellite of Jupiter) or Enceladus (satellite of Saturn). The researchers even revealed a complete sky map (classic) as well as an adaptation of an image of the sky taken by the eRosita X-ray instrument of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE).

Here are the maps of the Moon and Mars:

Moon book 1
Credit: Princeton University
mars card
Credit: Princeton University

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