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Stafford Museum
2013-May-15, 04:42 PM
Hello everyone! We are the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford, OK. We are currently looking for a large model of the solar system to hang in our education center. I have been charged with finding this model! Can anyone here offer some advice in finding a large, able to hang from the ceiling model? As of right now, it looks like we need to build one, but we have limited resources and if I'm able to find one to purchase, that would be stupendous! Thanks for any advice!

Onward and upward!
Stafford Museum Staff Member
Brandi! ;)

mapguy
2013-May-16, 03:27 PM
Hi Brandi. One thing to keep in mind: if you want your solar system model to be 1.) true-to-scale and 2.) visible to the unaided eye, then you really need to do it outdoors. At a scale where the smallest planet is only the size of a pinhead, the Sun would be about the size of a basketball, and Neptune would be the size of a peanut, orbiting almost a half-mile away!

But since you're talking about a model that hangs indoors, then you'll have to sacrifice the size accuracy of the Sun and planets. But you can still get the scale of the orbits correct, and here is a great tool (http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/) to help with that: just plug in the size of your Sun, and hit "calculate" to see the orbital radii of the planets. Keep playing around with it until Neptune's orbit fits within your allotted space. Once you've done that, you'll see that some of the planetary diameters will be microscopic, so obviously you'll have to cheat on their sizes.