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Transcript
Name ______________________________________
Date ___________________
Solar System Distance Activity
Our solar system is immense in size by normal standards. We know that planets revolve
around the Sun, but we don’t often consider how far each planet is from the Sun.
Astronomers use the distance from the Sun to Earth as one “astronomical unit” (AU).
This activity provides an easy way to calculate the distances of the planets from the Sun.
You will be making a distance model of the Solar System to scale using beads as planets.
The chart below shows the planets and asteroid belt in order from with their distance
from the sun in astronomical units. Complete the chart by multiplying each AU distance
by the scale factor of 10 cm per astronomical unit. Then use the new figures to construct
a scale model of the solar system. You need a 4.5 m piece of string or yarn. Using the
distances in cm that you calculated, measure the distance from the sun to each planet and
tie it on the string. The sun will be at one end.
Astronomical unit (AU) = approximately 150 million kilometers
Materials: beads, string or yarn, metric ruler and meter stick
Planet
Bead color
Sun
Yellow
AU from
Sun
0.0
Mercury
Solid red
0.4
Venus
Cream
0.7
Earth
Clear blue
1.0
Mars
Clear red
1.5
Asteroid belt
Black
2.8
Jupiter
Orange
5.0
Saturn
Clear gold
10.0
Uranus
Dark blue
19.0
Neptune
Light blue
30.0
Pluto (dwarf planet
Brown
– Kuiper belt object)
Scale value in cm
( x10 cm per AU)
39.0
When finished, show it to your teacher and then put it in the sandwich bag with this
paper.