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The Peppercorn Model of the Solar System

 

The Peppercorn Model, also known as the Thousand Yard Model, is a scale model of the solar system which shows, at the same time and on a linear scale, both the sizes of the planets and the distances between them. At this scale the Sun is about the size of a soccer ball, the Earth is about the size of a peppercorn, and Pluto is a grain of salt about 1000 yards from the Sun.

Solar System
Object
Model Object
and Diameter
Distance
(in AU)
Added
Distance
Total
Distance
Object inches mm AU yards meters yards meters
Sun a soccer ball 8.7'' 22 cm 0.00     0 yd 0 m
Mercury a pin head 0.030'' 0.8 mm 0.39 +10 yd +9 m 10 yd 9 m
Venus a peppercorn 0.075'' 1.9 mm 0.72 +9 yd +8 m 19 yd 17 m
Earth a peppercorn 0.079'' 2.0 mm 1.00 +7 yd +7 m 26 yd 24 m
Mars a pin head 0.042'' 1.1 mm 1.52 +14 yd +12 m 39 yd 36 m
*Ceres a grain of salt 0.006'' 0.15 mm 2.77 +32 yd +29 m 72 yd 65 m
Jupiter a walnut,
or chestnut
0.89'' 23 mm 5.20 +63 yd +57 m 134 yd 123 m
Saturn an acorn
or hazelnut
0.75'' 19 mm 9.58 +113 yd +103 m 247 yd 226 m
Uranus a coffee bean 0.318'' 8 mm 19.20 +249 yd +228 m 497 yd 454 m
Neptune a coffee bean 0.308'' 8 mm 30.10 +281 yd +257 m 777 yd 711 m
*Pluto a grain of salt 0.014'' 0.36 mm 39.30 +237 yd +216 m 1014 yd 927 m
*Haumea a grain of salt 0.008'' 0.20 mm 43.20 +102 yd +93 m 1116 yd 1020 m
*Makemake a grain of salt 0.009'' 0.23 mm 45.70 +64 yd +59 m 1180 yd 1079 m
*Eris a grain of salt 0.014'' 0.37 mm 67.80 +570 yd +521 m 1750 yd 1600 m
*dwarf planets
 
Model Object
 
Diameter
 
Distance
(in AU)
semi-major axis
Added
Distance
Total
Distance

On this scale the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, would be about 4,000 miles away!

1 AU = 1 Astronomical Unit = average (mean) distance between the Earth and the Sun
1 AU = 1.4960 × 1011 meters =  9.2956 × 107 miles

Scale: 1 inch = 100,000 miles

Sites

References

  1. The Thousand-Yard Model or, The Earth as a Peppercorn from NOAO
  2. The Thousand-Yard Model or, the Earth as a Peppercorn by Guy Ottewell
  3. The Peppercorn Model of the Solar System a presentation by Eric Myers for the joint meeting of the New York, New Jersey, and New England sections of the American Association of Physics Teachers, held at Marist College on Sept. 28th 2013.

Other Resources

  1. Sagan Planet Walk in downtown Ithaca, New York
  2. Voyage Model Solar System on the Capital Mall in Washington, D.C.
  3. Other solar system models (from Wikipedia)
  4. SOLAR SYSTEM Passport to the Planets - A Scale Model of the Solar System - Student activiy for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students
  5. Scales of the Universe - relative sizes of all things large and small
  6. If the Moon were only one Pixel - a tediously accurate scale model of the solar system
  7. To Scale: The Solar System - On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits

  8. Lightspeed Model of the Solar System - an alternative model of the solar system where the planets are arranged by the time it takes light from the Sun to reach them.

Last updated: 3 September 2018


Last modified: 03 September 2018 Copyright © 2018 by Spy Hill Research http://www.spy-hill.net /myers/peppercorn/index.php