Solar system model
Solar system models, especially mechanical models, called
orreries,
that illustrate the relative positions and motions of the
planets and
moons in the
solar
system have been built for centuries. While they often showed relative
sizes, these models were usually not built to scale. The enormous ratio of
interplanetary distances to planetary diameters makes constructing a
scale
model of the solar system a challenging task. As one example of the
difficulty, the distance between the
Earth and the
Sun is almost 12,000
times the diameter of the Earth.
If the smaller planets are to be easily visible to the naked eye, large
outdoor spaces are generally necessary, as is some means for highlighting
objects that might otherwise not be noticed from a distance. The objects in such
models do not move. Traditional orreries often did move and some used clockworks
to make the relative speeds of objects accurate. These can be thought of as
being scaled in time instead of distance.
One scale model, designed to be easily replicated, is called The
ThousandYard Model
[1] and spans about a kilometre. In it, the Earth is represented by a
peppercorn. A school class building this model might tape the peppercorn to
an
index card to make it more visible. Another scale model is the 1:10 000 000
000 model, in which 100,000 km is represented by 1 cm. In this model, the
Sun is 600m from the
Kuiper
belt and
dwarf
planet Pluto.
The largest scale model in the world is the
Sweden Solar System.
In July 2005 the Austrian art group
monochrom
placed the planets true to scale (sun, 4 meters in diameter at Machine Gallery,
Alvarado Street, near
Echo Park) throughout the
Los
Angeles cityscape. Then they conducted an
'illegal space car race' through the solar system.
Scale models in various locations
Several towns and institutions have built outdoor scale models of the solar
system. Here is a table comparing these models.
Scale Models of the Solar System
Location 
Scale 
Sun dia. 
Earth dia. 
SunEarth 
SunPluto 
Actual statistics 
1:1 
1.392 Gm 
12.76 Mm 
149.6 Gm 
5.914 Tm 
Jodrell Bank  SpacedOut (planets not to scale) 
1:15,000,000 
Not to scale 
Not to scale 
10 km 
393 km 
Upstate
New York
from
Syracuse, New York 
1:46,500,000 
25.6 m 
305 mm (1 ft) 
3.5 km 
138 km 
University of Maine at
Presque Isle 
1:93,000,000 
15 m 
137 mm 
1.6 km 
64 km 
Peoria, Illinois 
1:125,000,000 
11 m 
100 mm 
1.2 km 
47 km 
Boston
Museum of Science 
1:400,000,000 
3.5 m 
32 mm 
376 m 
14.9 km 
York 
1:575,872,239 
2.417 m 
22.1 mm 
259.73 m 
10.2679 km 
Planetenwanderweg (Bergstadt Ehrenfriedersdorf, Germany) 
1:1,000,000,000 
1.39 m 
13 mm 
150 m 
5.9 km 
Eugene, Oregon 
1:1,000,000,000 
1.39 m 
12 mm 
150 m 
5.9 km 
Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic 
1:1,000,000,000 
1.39 m 
12.8 mm 
150 m 
5.9 km 
Model of the Solar System, Helsinki, Finland 
1:1,000,000,000 
1.40 m 
12.8 mm 
149.6 m 
6.102 km 
Planet Walk, Munich, Germany 
1: 1,290,000,000 
1.08 m 
9.9 mm 
116 m 
4.57 km 
Otford Solar System Model 
1: 4,590,000,000 
30 cm 
2.7 mm 
32 m 
983 m 
The Sagan Planet Walk, Ithaca, NY 
1:5,000,000,000 
27.8 cm 
2.5 mm 
30 m 
1.18 km 
Jodrell
Bank 
1:5,000,000,000? 
30 cm? 
2.5 mm? 
30 m? 
1 km? 
The ThousandYard Model 
1:6,336,000,000 
20.3 cm 
2 mm 
25 m 
983 m 
SaintLouisduHa! Ha!, Quebec 
1:10,000,000,000 
13.9 cm 
1.2 mm 
15 m 
590 m 
The Solar Walk, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 
1:5,280,000,000 
26.4 cm 
2.4 mm 
28.4 m 
1121 m 
Voyage, National Mall, Washington DC, USA 
1:10,000,000,000 
13.9 cm 
1.2 mm 
15 m 
590 m 
Zagreb, city wide, Croatia 
1:680,000,000 
2 m 
1.9 cm 
225 m 
8.7 km 
A model based on a classroom globe
Relating the size of the Solar system to familiar objects can make it easier
for students to grasp the relative distances. Most classroom
globes
are 41 cm (16 inches) in diameter. If the Earth were reduced to this size, the
Moon would be a 10
cm (4 in)
baseball floating 12 metres (40 feet) away. The Sun would be a
beach ball
14 stories tall (somewhat smaller than the
Spaceship Earth ride at
Epcot)
floating 5 kilometres (3 miles) away. While a complete model to this scale has
never been built, here is what a solar system built to that scale would look
like. The scale is approximately 1:31,000,000.
Body 
Diameter 
Semimajor axis 
Sun 
44.6 m (146 ft) 
zero 
Mercury 
15
cm (6") 
1.9
km (1.2 mi) 
Venus 
38
cm (15") 
3.5
km (2.2 mi) 
Earth 
41
cm (16") 
4.8
km (3.0 mi) 
Moon 
10
cm (4") 
12 m
(40 ft) from Earth 
Mars 
23
cm (9") 
7.2
km (4.5 mi) 
Ceres 
3 cm
(1") 
13.3
km (8.3 mi) 
Jupiter 
4.55
m (15 ft) 
24.9
km (15.5 mi) 
Saturn 
3.81
m (12 ft 6") 
45.5
km (28.3 mi) 
Uranus 
1.63
m (5 ft 4") 
92.2
km (57.3 mi) 
Neptune 
1.55
m (5 ft 1") 
144.4 km (89.7 mi) 
Pluto 
7 cm
(3") 
190
km (118 mi) 
Eris 
8 cm
(3") 
325
km (202 mi) 
α Centauri A 
49.5
m (162 ft) 
1,323,500 km (822,400 mi) 
If the scale of the above model is increased to 1:310,000,000, i.e. all
distances and sizes reduced by a factor of 10, then the Earth and Venus can be
modeled by
ping pong balls, the Moon and smaller planets by various size
marbles or
lumps of modeling clay, the gas giants by balloons or larger playing balls, and
a circle the diameter of the Sun can be drawn on the floor of most classrooms.
The scale distance to α Centauri would be 1/3 of the way to the Moon.
A model based on a sports field
Relating the size of the Solar System to familiar objects can make it easier
for students to grasp the relative distances. Most American schools have a
football field associated with the high school (100 yards or 92 meters
long). Other schools may have a
soccer field nearby (90 to 120 m long). If the Sun was reduced to slightly
less than one inch (21 mm),
Pluto
would be a 0.002 inch (0.05 mm) speck floating 100 yards (91.4 meters) away.
Jupiter would
be less than threethirtysecondths of an inch in diameter and would sit on the
13 yard line.
Uranus would be less than onethirtysecondth of an inch sitting nearly on
the 50 yard line. At that scale, the speed of light would be about 1 inch every
5 seconds (5 mm per second). Light takes about 5.5 hours to go from the Sun to
Pluto. Here is what the Solar System built to that scale would look like. This
complete model would be simple to make with scale planets taped to wood stakes
or metal rods. The scale is approximately 1:64,700,000,000.
Body 
Diameter 
Semimajor axis 
Sun 
0.85 in (21.5 mm) 
zero 
Mercury 
0.003 in (0.08 mm) 
1.0
yard (0.9 m) 
Venus 
0.007 in (0.19 mm) 
1.9
yard (1.7 m) 
Earth 
0.008 in (0.20 mm) 
2.5
yard (2.3 m) 
Mars 
0.004 in (0.10 mm) 
3.8
yard (3.5 m) 
Ceres 
0.001 in (0.02 mm) 
7.0
yard (6.4 m) 
Jupiter 
0.085 in (2.16 mm) 
13.1
yard (12.0 m) 
Saturn 
0.071 in (1.8 mm) 
24.2
yard (22.1 m) 
Uranus 
0.029 in (0.73 mm) 
48.6
yard (44.4 m) 
Neptune 
0.028 in (0.7 mm) 
76.1
yard (69.6 m) 
Pluto 
0.002 in (0.05 mm) 
100.0 yard (91.4 m) 
Eris 
0.002 in (0.05 mm) 
171.4 yard (156.7 m) 
α Centauri A 
0.94
in (23.9 mm) 
396
mile (637 km) 
Misleading models
The models sketched above are an eye opener to many people interested in, but
not knowing much about astronomy. They are far cry from the typical drawings of
the solar system one usually sees in books, such as the one to the right. Even
if it is stated in the text that the layout is not to scale, it is often
difficult for the reader to fully comprehend how discrepant the scale of the
distances in the image is compared to the sizes of the objects depicted.
Wiki Source
Comment 
Syracuse New York does not have a
solar system model. Do your research before you put anything like
this up on the Internet. I've lived in Syracuse my whole life and if
Syracuse housed the 2nd largest solar system model in the world,
SOMEONE would have heard about it by now. 
