National Radio Astronomy Observatory Green Bank

Sun scale model NRAO Greeen Bank

The solar system scale model at NRAO Green Bank has a scale factor of 3 billion to 1, so the Sun is 18 inches (45.7 cm) across. The eight planets plus dwarf planet Pluto are shown against the Sun. The scale model I use for my class (and textbook) has the Sun as a yellow ball only 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) across. With that scale model, the solar system out to Pluto fits on the Bakersfield College campus but the nearest star is still over 2,980 miles (4803 km) away. With the Green Bank solar system model, the next star would be over 8,260 miles (13,300 km) away, or more than one real Earth diameter away.

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last updated: September 5, 2011

Author of original content: Nick Strobel