Astronomy/Solar System


Has anyone ever made a model of the solar system to scale on earth? I have been doing some 3D printing lately and would like to create a 3D model of the solar system that is accurate to planet proportions, distances, and 3D paths around the sun.

There is one in the (Rose?) planetarium lobby in New York that is to scale in terms of the orbital sizes. I don't know if it shows the planets at the correct size or not. I do know that the director of the planetarium led the push to demote Pluto, because keeping it as a planet would have required them to enlarge the building, or make the planets smaller, which suggests that perhaps the planets were done more or less to scale, in the sense that the globe for Jupiter was probably 11 times bigger than the globe for the Earth. But whether it was the correct size in comparison to its orbit is far less certain, because in that case they'd all be pretty much dots (just as they look like dots in the sky).

I also recall reading about a model in which correctly sized planets were spaced along several miles of roadway somewhere, but since it was just a straight-line size and distance thing, it wasn't exactly a "true" model of the solar system. It was, however, absolutely correct in terms of how small the planets were in comparison to how far apart they were.

And of course there may be others around that are more or less to scale, but it isn't something I've paid any attention to, and I'm only aware of these examples because I ran across them by accident (and thought it was rather self-serving of the New York planetarium director (de Grasse?) to say that he felt Pluto should be demoted because it didn't deserve to be a planet, when his plans for the building may have provided an ulterior motive).


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Courtney Seligman


I can answer almost any question about astronomy and related sciences, such as physics and geology. I will not answer questions about astrology and similar pseudo-scientific rubbish.


I have been a professor of astronomy for over 40 years, and am working on an online text/encyclopedia of astronomy, and an online catalog of NGC/IC objects.

Astronomical Journal, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (too long ago to be really relevant, but you could search for Courtney Seligman on Google Scholar)

I received a BA in astronomy and physics and a MA in astronomy, both from UCLA. I was working on my doctoral dissertation when I started teaching, and discovered that I preferred teaching to research.

Awards and Honors
(too long ago to be relevant, but Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi still keep trying to get me to become a paying member)

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