# Relative Size and Distances of Planets in the Solar System

This is a follow-up to last month’s post: The Size of the Earth Compared to Other Objects in Space. The pictures in that post showed the relative sizes of the planets to each other (and the sun and beyond). But what about the actual distances in the solar system? Is there any way to visualize the vast amount of empty space between the planets and the sun? Here is a helpful illustration which reduces the sizes and distances involved by a factor of one billion (English and metric versions follow).

English measurement version:

One way to help visualize the relative sizes in the solar system is to imagine a model in which everything is reduced in size by a factor of a billion. Then the model Earth would be about 0.5 inches in diameter (the size of a grape). The Moon would be 11.8 inches (about a foot) from the Earth. The Sun would be 5 feet in diameter and 500 feet (about a city block) from the Earth. Jupiter would be 6 inches in diameter (the size of a large grapefruit) and 5 blocks away from the Sun. Saturn (the size of an orange) would be 10 blocks away; Uranus and Neptune (lemons) 20 and 30 blocks away. A human on this scale would be the size of an atom but the nearest star would be over 25,000 miles away.

Metric version:

One way to help visualize the relative sizes in the solar system is to imagine a model in which everything is reduced in size by a factor of a billion. Then the model Earth would be about 1.3 cm in diameter (the size of a grape). The Moon would be about 30 cm (about a foot) from the Earth. The Sun would be 1.5 meters in diameter (about the height of a man) and 150 meters (about a city block) from the Earth. Jupiter would be 15 cm in diameter (the size of a large grapefruit) and 5 blocks away from the Sun. Saturn (the size of an orange) would be 10 blocks away; Uranus and Neptune (lemons) 20 and 30 blocks away. A human on this scale would be the size of an atom but the nearest star would be over 40,000 km away.

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