how to make a simple and cool solar system by using simple things

In Topics: Science fair
> 60 days ago



Nov 25, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Hi -
I'm assuming you mean to make a MODEL of a solar system.

Below is a link to a model that is based upon Earth as a peppercorn - an item easily available in most kitchens.

One of my favorite models uses toilet paper. Here's how:

Toilet Paper Solar System Model

• one standard 240 sheet roll of toilet tissue (1 sheet = 25 million km)
• a large area

Start at the center with the Sun, which in this model is about the size of a thumbnail. You will use the tissue as a measuring tool. Starting from the Sun, unroll two sheets to reach the orbit of Mercury (each sheet of tissue represents about 25 million kilometers, and the orbit of Mercury is about 57,900,000 kilometers from the Sun). Add the planet Mercury: use a very fine pencil point to make a tiny dot. Even the smallest dot you can make is still too big, but it will do for this purpose.

Unroll two more sheets and you get to the orbit of Venus, 108,100,000 kilometers from the Sun. Again, you can add Venus by making another very tiny dot. Again, the scale model of Venus would be smaller than your dot.

Unroll two more sheets and you get to the Earth, at 149,500,000 kilometers. Another tiny dot goes here.

To get to the orbit of Mars, unroll three more sheets, which puts us at 227,800,000 kilometers.   Another tiny dot will represent Mars.

Next in line is the orbit of planet Jupiter. To get to Jupiter, unroll 21 more sheets, for a total of 30 sheets from the Sun. The orbit of Jupiter is 778,000,000 kilometers from the Sun. This time we can make a bigger dot, about .07 centimeters if you have a metric ruler.

From Jupiter to the orbit of Saturn, unroll 30 more sheets, and make a dot about .06 centimeters. At this point, we are 1,427,000,000 kilometers from the Sun.

After Saturn, the next orbit if Uranus, and we will need 60 more sheets to get there, for a total of 120 sheets from the sun, 2,869,000,000 kilometers. Here, we go back to making the tiniest dot that you can.

From the orbit of Uranus to the orbit of Neptune, the outermost planet, unroll 60 more sheets, representing 4,497,000,000 kilometers from the Sun, and make another tiny dot.

60 more sheets will take us to the orbit of the dwarf planet, Pluto, 5,900,000,000 kilometers from the Sun. You would need a microscope to see a dot that was the properly scaled size for Pluto in this model.

Good luck!

Michael Bentley, EdD, Expert Panelist
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