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How to Build a Scale Model Solar System

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    • 1). Locate a spacious area, since the final model will require approximately 4 meters of space. Determine where the sun will be placed in the room where the model will be built. Use a scale for the distance from the sun of 1 centimeter = 1,000,000 miles. Use a scale for the circumference of the planets of 1 centimeter = 10,000 kilometers. Determine the desired diameter for the sun and each planet. Measure and cut a string twice as long as each desired length plus 1 inch. (The diameter of a circle is twice the radius) The diameter of the sun should be 13.9 centimeters, Mercury is .05 centimeters, Venus is .1.2 centimeters, Earth is 1.2 centimeters, Mars is .67 centimeters, Jupiter is 1.4 centimeters, Saturn is 11.6 centimeters, Uranus is 4.6 centimeters, Neptune is 4.5 centimeters and Pluto is .02 centimeters. For Mercury and Pluto consider using aluminum foil balls instead of balloons.

    • 2). Wrap the string for the sun around the first balloon before inflating it and hold in place by pinching 1/2-inch of each side of the string between your fingers. Inflate the balloon until the string fits snuggly around the widest part of the balloon. Tie off the end of the balloon. Repeat the process for each of the six planets larger than one centimeter. For the planets smaller than one centimeter consider making small balls of aluminum foil. Tear of a strip of foil and roll into a ball. Measure around the ball with the appropriate planets string to determine the correct size.

    • 3). Mark an X on the floor with the masking tape under the spot where the sun will hang. Measure 3.6 centimeters away and make another x for Mercury. Measure 6.7 centimeters from the first X and mark it for Venus. Repeat for each of the planets, measuring from the fist X for the sun. Earth will be 9.3 centimeters, Mars will be 14.1 centimeters, Jupiter will be 48.4 centimeters, Saturn is 88.7 centimeters, Uranus is 178.6 centimeters, Neptune is 280 centimeters and Pluto is 366.4 centimeters from the sun.

    • 4). Tie a string around the end of each balloon and hang over the designated x on the floor. If aluminum foil was used for the smaller planets tie the string around the planet and then hang. Make a label with each planet's name and tape to the string over the hanging planet.

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