Tuesday, March 5, 2013

US-sized scale model solar system

Scale Model Solar Systems are pretty cool. Currently the largest one is in Sweden with a bigger one under construction in England.
What if there was a model that spanned the United States?

I decided to use the distance from San Francisco to Washington DC as a base length of 3932km (from Wolfram Alpha).
Then I took the average AU distance of the planets (ending at Neptune) as a percentage and converted that to km in the SF to DC distance.
Here is the spreadsheet I made for the data.

I used Google Earth to estimate the location of each planet in the US.
Here is the map of the points on Google Maps.

View US Scale Solar system in a larger map

Calculating the ratio of scale km to real km turns out to be
1 km:1.14x106 km
Scaling the planets according to this ratio (also on the spreadsheet) unfortunately results in a 1,200m diameter sun in SF. The most practical way would probably be to use a different scale for the planets, and use a 1.2m (diameter) sun in SF, and a 4cm mercury.

Yes, I did post this on Reddit first, to make sure my math was correct. 

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