? Become familiar with the scale of the planets vs. their distances.
? Get an overview of the solar system.
? 50 points are possible
It is easy to flip to the index of an astronomy textbook to discover that, say, the Sun lies 150 million kilometers away from Earth. It is far more difficult (if not impossible), however, to picture this distance in our mind. In this exercise, we will learn to access the often unpalatable distances encountered in astronomy by simply scaling the huge distances to more recognizable, familiar numbers. So long as every distance within the system of interest is scaled by the same factor, we retain the ...view middle of the document...
b. Use the scale 7000 km = 1 cm to calculate the scale size of planets.
c. Use significant figures.
2. Using the scale diameters in Data Table A and a common program like Paint or shapes in Word; construct circles representing the planets.
a. Create circular forms that represent the scaled size of the object. Illustrate smaller circles within larger circles. Each circle representing a planet must be clearly labeled.
b. If the diameter is too small - draw a line that is equal to the planets scaled radius and label the line clearly.
c. Label each circle with the name of the planet it represents.
Data Table A - Size of the Planets
Planet|Equatorial Diameter (km)|Scale Diameter (cm)|
Mercury | 4,879 km| 3 cm|
Venus | 12,104 km| 7.5 cm|
Earth | 12,742 km|8 cm |
Mars | 6,779 km|4.2 cm |
Jupiter | 139,822 km|90 cm |
Saturn | 116,464 km|75 cm |
Uranus | 50,724 km|32 cm |
Neptune | 49,244 km|31 cm |
Part B: Relative Distances of Planets from the Sun
1. Complete Data Table B
a. Research and fill in the mean distance from the sun (km) for each of the planets.
Use the following link for information to use within Part B: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/index.cfm
b. Use the scale 25,000,000 km = 1cm to calculate the scale distance from the sun (cm).
c. For answers less than 100 cm - round using two significant figures.
d. For answers greater than 100 cm round to the nearest meter.
2. Using a common drawing program like Paint create a virtual model of your scaled solar system. Establish the position of the sun; then make a line to represent the longest distance within your model. You can then fill in the remaining objects at the appropriately scaled distances. Hint: It may help to break this up into two sections (terrestrial planets and gas giants)
Point of Interest: Be certain to label all representative distances clearly. Your virtual model should be easily understood: A person with no background in astronomy should be able to interpret your model and construct a full scale version without using only the information within your virtual model.
Be sure to complete the discussion and conclusions questions and conclusions that follow.
Data Table B- Relative Distances from the Sun
Planet|Average Distance from Sun (km)|Scale Distance from Sun (cm)||
Mercury | 57.9 million km|3.9 cm |
Venus |108.2 million km |7.9 cm |
Earth |149.6 million km |10 cm |
Mars |227.9 million km | 15.2 cm|
Jupiter |778.3 million km |52 cm |
Saturn |1,427.0 million km |95.4 cm |
Uranus | 2,871.0 million km|192 cm |
Neptune |4,497.1 million km |301 cm |
Discussion Questions: Use your textbooks and the website below to answer the following questions. Responses should be in complete sentences. Calculations should be shown when requested.
1. Which are the two largest planets? The 2...