‘Dune’: Here’s How Big Arrakis Is Compared to Earth and Other Planets of Our Solar System

Dune Heres How Big Arrakis Is Compared to Earth and Other Planets of Our Solar System
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Frank Herbert created one of the most notable sci-fi masterpieces of all time with ‘Dune.’ The franchise features impressive world-building and equally impressive character-building, however, some secondary details were never exactly explained. Like, for example, the size of Arrakis. Arrakis is the most notable planet in the series and, while its biology and inhabitants have been described in great detail, the dimensions, diameter, and exact size haven’t. This is why we set out to uncover how big Arrakis exactly is, and how it compares to other planets and bodies in our Solar system.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • The size of Arrakis was never confirmed but there are a few speculative sources to get a clearer picture.
  • According to ‘The Dune Encyclopedia,’ the planet has a radius of 6,128 km (3,807 mi) and a diameter of 12,256 km (7,615 mi) meaning that it’s pretty close to Earth’s radius and diameter. But this is not a canon number by any means as the work itself is not canon.
  • According to fan-made calculations that are based on some in-universe clues, Arrakis should be almost the same size as Earth’s moon with a radius of 1,737.4 km (1,079 mi) and a diameter of 3,474.8 km (2,159.1 mi).
  • As far as comparison with other planets goes, according to the ‘The Dune Encyclopedia’ numbers Arrakis would be bigger than Venus, Mars & Mercury but smaller than Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. If we go by the fan-made numbers, Arrakis would be the smallest planet in our Solar System today, with the exception of Pluto which is currently classified as dwarf planet and much smaller than Arrakis.

The number problem – we don’t know how Arrakis really is

Despite Arrakis being described in great detail regarding almost everything else, its size as a celestial body was never even briefly mentioned. There is one number attributed to ‘The Dune Encyclopedia.’ The Dune Encyclopedia, published in 1984 as a companion to the ‘Dune’ series, provided extensive details about various aspects of the ‘Dune’ universe not explored in the novels. It includes character biographies, explanations of key elements like planets, factions such as the Bene Gesserit and Mentats, and technology such as heighliners and stillsuits. But, the problem is that the work wasn’t canon.

The number mentioned in the Encyclopedia states that Arriks roughly has a radius of 6,128 km (3,807 mi) and a diameter of 12,256 km (7,615 mi) which is pretty much close to Earth’s radius and diameter, but admittedly there are several problems with this number, primarily by the fact that this massive size makes no sense when you take into account how quickly the characters move across the planet’s surface.

The other set of numbers provided to explain the size are fan-made and state that Arrakis should be almost the same size as Earth’s moon with a radius of 1,737.4 km (1,079 mi) and a diameter of 3,474.8 km (2,159.1 mi). This fits the story better and explains some discrepancies, so we’re going to go with this number as the preferred one, but this number is not without problems as well.

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The Gravity problem

This fan-made and smaller number has one notable problem related to the gravity of Arrakis, as we can see (and read) the gravity on Arrakis is pretty much the same as on Earth, which should be impossible for such a small celestial body. Earth’s gravity is 9.807 m/s² while the moon’s gravity is 1.62 m/s² since Arrakis is pretty much almost the exact size of the moon, it should have a much lower gravity than what was described, except if the planet was extremely rich in dense materials which would increase this value, as more denser the celestial body is, the higher gravitational pull it generates. But these are details, that can be explained if you stretch the facts (and science) a bit.

Comparison of Arrakis with other planets in the Solar System

Now that we’ve cleared the numbers the best that we could, it’s time to compare Arrakis and its size to the known planets in our Solar System. Based on the first set of numbers, which states that Arrakis is approximately as large as Earth, Arrakis would be bigger than Venus, Mars & Mercury but smaller than Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.

Going with the second fan-made number, Arrakis would be the smallest planet in the Solar System. Well, there is Pluto, which is currently classified as a dwarf planet with its 1,151 km ( 715 mi) radius and 2376 km (1,476.8 mi) diameter would be much smaller than Arrakis since it’s much smaller than Earth’s moon.

Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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