How to Draw the Solar System on a Centimeter Scale


My name is Eric Loberg, Director of the Taylor Planetarium at the Museum of the Rockies and I was going to model the solar system on a centimeter scale. Centimeter's not very big, we drew one up here and then decided we couldn't do the entire solar system on that scale, you wouldn't be able to see any of the objects. And so, instead I decided to put the sun, it's one centimeter. You'll notice that it's about the same size with my pinkie finger. So, if you have your pinkie finger, that's your sun. And from there, we can decide how far everything else is away. I left this on metrics since we're asking about centimeters. Mercury is about .42 meters away. Venus is almost a meter, not quite, .8. Earth is a little more than a meter away. Mars is a meter and a half. Jupiter 5.55, and then we start really getting far away from the sun. Again, the sun is just your little pinkie finger. The Saturn is 10.25 meters away. Uranus is about 20. And you start really be getting far away at this point; Neptune is 32 meters away, and really pretty far from the sun. Pluto is not a planet anymore, but I left it on this just so you know where it's at, it's 42 and a half meters away. It's really far out there from the sun; now, your just, your little tiny small sun. All these other objects are just little specs, you can't even see them. But, they're really really far away. Just for reference, I put the closest star in here too approximates of the centauri of your closest star. And again, your sun is a centimeter, very very small, approximates centauri would be almost 300 kilometers away. This would be enormously far away, even though your sun is a little small small object. What's important to take from this is that even though the objects are small, the distances gets to be very very large. The distance is much larger than the object itself. So, here we've modeled the solar system on a centimeter scale. My name is Eric Loberg with the Taylor Planetarium at the Museum of the Rockies.

J. Eric Loberg is the manager, lecturer, and program planner at the Taylor Planetarium at the World, a renowned museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana.