# Day 2 - Planet Size and Distance Lab

```Names: _______________________________________________________ Date: ______________ Period: __________
Earth and Environmental Science
Planetary Sizes and Distances
You and your partner are going to measure out a scale model of how big and far apart the planets are
comparatively. The point of an accurate scale model is to allow you to see large sizes and distances on a
manageable scale. We are going to use two different scales. Part A will be a scale for size of diameter, Part B
will be a scale for distance.
Materials:
-
Meter stick
Pen/Pencil
Cashier tape
-
Paper
Scissors
Glue
Procedure A:
First, fill out Table A using a scale of 1 mm = 700 km, rounding to the nearest tenth. Then convert the mm to
cm (Remember 1 cm = 10 mm). Finally, draw a circle with that diameter and label it with the correct planet.
Measure the diameters carefully! Keep these planets off to the side as you will need it for Procedure B.
Planet
Diameter (km)
Mercury
4, 880
Venus
12, 104
Earth
12, 756
Mars
6, 787
Jupiter
142, 800
Saturn
120, 000
Uranus
51, 800
Neptune
49, 500
Pluto (dwarf planet)
2, 377
Scale Diameter
(mm)
6.9
Scale Diameter
(cm)
.7
1. What are the two largest planets?
2. Which planet is the closest to the size of Earth?
3. How do the sizes of the inner planets compare to the outer planets?
4. How many times bigger is Jupiter’s diameter than the Earth’s?
5. The Sun has a diameter of 1,394,000 km. Using the scale used in Procedure A, how big would the Sun be in
millimeters?
Procedure B:
First, fill out the table below using the scale of 1 cm = 10, 000, 000 km. This will tell you how far apart the
planets will be on your model.
After obtaining the 5 meters of cashier tape, tape down one end of the cashier tape. At this end draw a line
and label it the Sun. All of the rest of your measurements will be based off of this line, NOT the previous
planet. Using the completed table, start by gluing Mercury (from Procedure A) 5.8 cm from the Sun. Continue
until all 8 planets have been placed (Pluto will NOT fit).
Planet
Mercury
Average Distance from
the Sun (km)
57, 900, 000
Venus
108, 200, 000
Earth
149, 600, 000
Mars
227, 900, 000
Jupiter
778, 300, 000
Saturn
1, 427, 000, 000
Uranus
2, 869, 000, 000
Neptune
4, 496, 000, 000
Pluto (dwarf planet)
7, 500, 000, 000
Scale Distance
from the Sun (cm)
5.8
Scale Distance from
the Sun (m)
.058
6. How do the distances between the inner planets compare to the outer planets?
7. Which two planets are closest to Earth?
8. How far away would Neptune be if you used the scale from Procedure A?
9. The star closest to our sun is Alpha Centauri. It is 4.3 light years (41,000,000,000,000 km) away from Earth.
Using the scale from Procedure B (1mm = 10,000,000 km), calculate the distance it is from Earth.
Extra Credit: The Large Magellanic Cloud is a galaxy near our Milky Way galaxy. It is 160,000 light-years from
Earth. Using the scale from procedure B, calculate how far away it is from Earth. (Note: 160,000 light years =
1.5x1018 km)
```