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# Solar system project help?

## I am currently doing a project in my science class i need to build a scale model of the solarsystem and i need to show scale planet sizes and distances from sun and each other does anyone know of some sites where i can get this kind of info or project ideas or u can submit project ideas of your own all help is appreciated thanks

Asked By: Jason J - 10/21/2007
The distances that the outer panets are from the sun are really huge compared to the distances of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, let alone the distances of the moons from their planets, so forget about being able to do this to the same scale.

I suggest you visit a college book store & find the different kinds of graph paper there is, such as polar graph paper, logarithmic, since you will need to apply a sliding scale.

Depending on your access to good computer software for drawing & hyper links, another approach might be to think of a map, where you click on a point on the map to blow up the details of what are there.

Many years ago, I designed a game, in which I addressed this scaling problem by using a combination of polar graph paper, and concentric circles, where the angular divisions of the circles were more further out.

First circle around the sun was empty.
Next was Mercury orbit, which had 3-4 sections.
Next was empty
Next was Venus, whose circular orbit was broken into a few more sections than Mercury.

The reason for this was at the end of every turn of the game, after everyone had moved their space ships (I was using different colored golf tees for different players space ships), the planets were moved one position on their orbital paths, so I had Mercury going around the sun faster than Venus & each planet on out going around the sun in more moves than the planets closer to the Sun.

Once upon a time there was a pencil sharpener on the market which had planet earth being where the pencil shavings went. I bought a bunch of those, painted different planets based on astronomy books, and mounted them on military miniatures stands.

I used ping pong ball for basis of making a moon.

Simulating our Moon vs. Earth was a bit more difficult since they are really orbiting a point below the Earth's surface, but in my game I wanted to make things interesting, represent reality, not be exact scale when that was going to be a hassle, so I made a kind of wheel on a wheel for the Earth Moon around Sun, marking points on the map for position 1 2 3 etc. of the orbits

As we moved further out, there got to be more empty circles before next planetary orbit. I recognize some of them are not exactly circles, but it was easier to do the concentric rings on the map board..

Was it your idea to do scale model, or did your teacher suggest it? It may be that your teacher knows that a scale model is impossible, and expects you to discover this through your learning process, and struggle to come up with some way to show reality with some precision.

You know like the map makers ... our planet is really a sphere, so any map that is flat (and they all are) will be distorted, so they come up with various systems to compensate for the distortion.

So you are in the same boat ... you need to illustrate our solar system somehow, knowing that a true scale model is not really practical, so you need to come up with a system that does a good job of representing it, and gives the spectator access to good numbers.

As for resources. If your city has a Planetarium, that is well worth a visit, and ask there for suggestions for your project.

When looking up in Internet, public library, encyclopaedia, relevant topics include:

Solar System
Astronomy
Space
NASA

names of our various planets & other objects in our solar system such as the Oort cloud, Asteroid belt, comets, meteors

Mercury Venus (spins backwards) Earth (1 moon) Mars (2 moons) Jupiter (16 moons, one ring, Jupiter is largest planet in our solar system) Saturn (20 moons, major rings) Uranus (15 moons, minor rings, axis tilted the most) Neptune (3 moons)

Pluto is no longer considered to be a planet

In the history of astronomy, there have been various efforts to explain what we see in the heavens, many of which came up with all sorts of diagrams, which you can find by studying this history

The astronomer Copernicus figured out that the planets go around the sun, but he got some other stuff wrong.

The astronomer Kepler figured out that the planetary orbits are really ovals (not circles)

The mathematician Newton figured out the mathematics of gravity and other things to explain the positions of the planets, using the observations of the astronomers
Answered By: Al Mac Wheel - 10/21/2007
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