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Gfamily

Solar System outreach models - suggested sizes

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Our Astro Society was asked if we could lead a couple of sessions for a local Cub scouts group to prepare them for their Astronomy Badge. 

A lot of the content is around the Solar System, so we thought that we'd assemble some appropriately scaled models.  At a craft shop we were able to pick up Polystyrene balls in following sizes which are pretty close to representative. 

10cm - for Jupiter

 8cm  - for Saturn (about 5mm too small)  to which we added a card 'hoop' for the rings - inside diameter  9cm, outside diameter 19cm

 4cm  - for Uranus and Neptune (c 5mm too large)

 1cm  - for Earth and Venus  (1 & 1.5mm too large respectively)

0.5cm for Mars and Mercury (Mercury about 1mm too large) 

If you can get a beachball about 1 metre in diameter, that will stand for the Sun. 

We painted the 'planets' in appropriate colours using acrylic paints and they looked pretty good. 

Edited to correct size for Mars / Mercury from mm to cm.

Edited by Gfamily
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Having seen a true scale solar system at a Danish rural observatory I'd definitely gloss over the distance between your "model" planets. :unsure:

Though you could always arrange for them to carry the inner planets in a ruck sack as a formal day's march. [With overnight camping after Venus.] :biggrin:

Or, if you are feeling really adventurous add Earth and Mars as a decent cycle ride and then you can include the proficiency badge for cycling touring as well..  :wink2:

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You can play with the scale factors on this Google Sheets on my drive

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GoGmffEo6rH0E4C0O5qQ-nLCOocw3P8YzHN6r1oW3RQ/edit?usp=sharing

You should be able to select your 'base' planet using the blue dropdown, and then select what size you want it to be using the left hand yellow cell. #

The right hand yellow cell allows you to select the size you want for the orbits (obviously a completely different scale to the planets). 

I have a 15 metre tape that works well for Sun - Neptune, so Jupiter at 2.6m fits that scale. 

Edited by Gfamily

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We seem to host an "Astronomer Badge" group at least once a week, amazing how many groups there are!  One item on the required list is constellation recognition, as the sky is seldom clear when you need it we have set of cardboard tubes, closed off at one end with a thin metal cap that has the obvious pattern of a constellation pierced through it. When pointed at an illuminated screen the candidate sees the pattern and tries to identify it. The tubes are numbered against a correct list and a mark indicates the correct orientation.  Practical and popular.   🙂

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When you get to this scale, (see below), then you may encounter a problem...

 

Edited by Philip R
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