Starfield genius uses space math to determine the actual size of the game's planets

(Image credit: Bethesda)

A fan has used planetary mathematics to work out how large one of the Starfield Planets is - and how that relates to real-life planets.

At one point in the Starfield Direct, one smart cookie over on Reddit took note of the HUD display as Bethesda showed off one of Starfield star systems' moons called Nemeria IV-a. They note a gravity of 0.4 - 40% as strong as Earth's - and that the horizon appears to be 774m away.

Assuming the height of an average human (and not taking account of the small hill the player seems to be standing on), that horizon distance would mean Nemeria IV-a would have a radius - the distance from its core to its surface - of around 100 miles. For context, the radius of Earth is around 40 times that, at just under 4,000 miles.

Planets can be estimated to be roughly at 1:20 scale in Starfield from r/Starfield

Taking that figure, our number cruncher switched to the gravity of Nemeria IV-a. Two of our closest celestial partners - Mercury and Mars - boast a gravity about 38% as strong as Earth's, and taking their diameter into account, we can assume that a planet with 0.4 gravity should be a little under 50% the radius of Earth. For ease, we'll round that up to 2,000 miles.

If we go back to the 100 mile figure from earlier, we can compare the estimated size of Starfield's Nemeria IV-a to how big it would have to be if it were a real planetary body. 100 miles in 2,000 is a pleasing ratio of 1:20, suggesting that Starfield's planets are about 5% of the size they 'should' be.

That's a very broad estimate, and some commenters suggest that the planets could be notably bigger than that. There is, however, a factor at play in Bethesda's older games that suggests this could be a pretty accurate guess. Skyrim and Fallout 4 use a 1:20 ratio for their 'timescale,' the amount of in-game time that passes for each real-world minute. Apply that to a minute of movement taking you 20 minutes' worth of distance, and you've got a hint as to the size of those maps.

While those maps might seem a little smaller than you'd expect, remember - Starfield still has 1,000 planets. And with 10% of capable of sustaining life, you should still have more to explore than in any previous Bethesda game. 

Todd Howard promises Starfield will be a "modder's paradise."

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.