The diameter of the Solar System is 100000 times the distance from the Sun to the Earth.
Light would from the Sun would take about 555 days to reach the edge of the Solar System compared to 8.25 minutes to reach the Earth. It’s clear we’re talking about some IMMENSE distances which can be hard to imagine.
Working out how far each planet is from the Sun can be tricky as the distance changes depending on where the planet in its orbit.
Astronomical units can be used to make the distances more manageable.
What is an Astronomical Unit?
An astronomical unit ( AU ) is the distance from the Earth to the Sun ( about 93 million miles )
Draw the Solar System
An easy way to draw the Solar System is to scale a drawing to 1AU = 1cm and draw each planet starting from the Sun at 0cm.
Walk the Solar System
To walk the solar system you’ll need to convert the Astronomical Units to something walkable.
If you multiply each distance from the Sun by 100cm you can easily walk and mark out the Solar System, although you will need a big open space.
Start with the Sun at 0 cm.
Mercury 40 cm
Venus 70 cm
Earth 100 cm
Mars 150 cm
Neptune 30 metres
Another idea is to use toilet paper and roll out a separate strip for each planet along the ground.
Remember 1 AU is 93 MILLION MILES!!! To put this into context the diameter of the Earth is only 7926 miles!!!
Grab the activity sheet below!
Crazy space facts
Did you know 1.3 MILLION Earths would fit inside the Sun?
1320 Earths would fit inside Jupiter ( if there was no space between them ) which is the biggest planet in the Solar System.
It would take 11 Earths to fit across the diameter of Jupiter.
Mercury spins so slowly that a year is longer than a day!
It would take a plane travelling at normal speed over 570 years to get to Neptune!
Saturn is the second biggest planet but not very dense. If you could make a bathtub big enough, it would float!
Jupiter has 67 moons ( that we know of ).
If you compare our sun to other stars it’s actually quite small. Hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris is 1400 times wider than the Sun!!!
Find out more about the wonders of space with one of my easy space themed science experiments!
This video illustrates the size of space brilliantly!
Last Updated on February 15, 2022 by Emma Vanstone