# Scale model of solar system

So, assuming a 6-foot radius that stops at Neptune: apart from the Sun, I’d say only Jupiter and Saturn may be visible to the naked eye – if you can walk up to them, have a strong flashlight and know where to look. But you might mistake them for specks of dust.

The sun should be pretty visible, and might be bright enough that you wouldn’t need a flashlight to see the Jupiter/Saturn dust specks. Based on lux/lumen calculators and a bit of googling, in spite of being just 0.5mm in diameter, to illuminate the earth 61mm away at 111000 lux (typical light level of bright sunlight) our tiny sun needs to be putting out 5022 lumens, which is roughly the light output of 3 100w incandescent lightbulbs. No wonder you can’t look directly at the real thing without damaging your eyes.

Weird - I know Canadian fields are 110 and American not the same, so I Googled “football field” to be sure and it said 100 yards, when I had thought it was 120. So… “football” - is a soccer field 100 yards? Meters?

Simply multiply what I said by 1.2x - it will still be in the same (sorry) ballpark.

It’s easier if you know precisely where the flea will be at any given time in the future. Not easy, but easier.

An American football field is 100 yards between the goal lines, 120 yards incluing the end zones.

I’m not sure it matters all that much when it’s a measurement that’s generally used only for order-or-magnitude size comparison.

Thanks, that’s what I read then. I never realized when people said “a football field” as a measure, they would be counting the end zones too… weird.

They wouldn’t, right? As I said, when used as a unit of measurement I think it’s commonly understood to mean just the 100 yards between the goal lines.

FWIW, the NASA blog I linked earlier does in fact use a football field as its milieu. But it puts the Sun on one goal line, effectively disregarding the extra yardage of the end zone “behind” it.

Not like it much matters, it seems. Pluto is 80 yards out, and would be whether the Sun is at the goal line or the back line of the end zone. It changes what on-field yard marker Pluto (or any other planet) is on, but they don’t use that much, probably because the 50-yard-line fold (counting down beyond that point) would just be annoying mental arithmetic for most folks.

You are right but also wrong. NFL Rule 1 Section 1 Articles 1 and 2 has the field including the endzones however the field of play does not include the endzones so a football field (of play) is 100 yards although to be pedantic a football field (no qualifier) is 120 yards.

I remember a very rough explanation to get the scale of things would be using a beachball for the sun you could lay out our universe inside a town. The Voyager 1 spacecraft is currently about a couple towns away. And the next closest star would be half way around the world.

For the 12-foot scale model, Jupiter is the size of the smallest font period dot you can print, or a tiny sand grain; all the other planets would be like the little floating dust particles you sometimes see in a sun beam. So, wherever you are sitting right now you’re probably already seeing the equivalent of what such a model would look like with Jupiter maybe visible as a spec on the floor (if you’re close enough), and the rest of the planets invisible floating dust particles.

Actually, the room you’re in right now probably has thousands more “planets” floating around as dust particles than the actual solar system. At that 12-foot scale everything except the sun is invisible for all intents and purposes.

Nope, 105 meters, 115 yards, though some old fields have slightly non-standard dimensions.

Here’s one I particularly like:

The University of Maine put up a scale model of our solar system along US Route 1 in Eastern Maine. The sun has a diameter of 598 inches, and is located at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Mercury (1.1 inch diameter) is at a Honda dealership, .3 miles away. the model stretches nearly 100 miles along Rt. 1. This website describes it, and shows the location and size of the sun (598 inch diameter, Earth is 5.5 inches) and all the planets. Really quite neat.

That was really cool.

I don’t know about that being the largest scale model of the solar system; I’ve seen one that’s 1:1.

Wowsers … you have viewed a parallel universe. ?? !!

The Ütliberg Planetary Way, near Zurich in Switzerland

I have walked past the Sun and the inner planets, but to get all the way to Pluto was a several kilometre hike (and then back).

There’s a similar thread in IMHO: I’m looking for a model of the 8 planets and earth’s moon that are TO SCALE My contribution referenced The Thousand Yard Model (or the Earth as a Peppercorn) https://lavinia.as.arizona.edu/~dmccarthy/GSUSA/activities/Additional%20Files/Thousand%20Yard%20SS%20Earth%20is%20Peppercorn.pdf

It includes Pluto, FWIW. If you stop at Neptune it would be about 750 yards. If your scale is much smaller, the planets will not be visible on the same scale as the interplanetary distances. Earth is a peppercorn in this model. Shrinking the model from 1,000 yards to 12 yards is about a factor of 100. That takes the Earth from about 2 millimeters in diameter to about 0.02 mm or 200 microns - as wide as 2 or 3 human hairs.