Size of the Solar System Lab - Astronomy 101 Essay

Words: 2266
Pages: 10

The Size of the Solar System
• Become familiar with the scale of the planets vs. their distances. • Get an overview of the solar system.
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 the human 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, pedestrian numbers. So long as every distance within the system of interest is scaled by the same factor, we retain the meaningful information about relative distances between objects.
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If you have the Sun, you may need to tape some paper together. If your object is a moon, you should include your sketch on the same paper as the planet it orbits.