WhatfettleSolar System Scale


One of the more amazing revelations i encountered in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything came after reading the following:

«On a diagram of the solar system to scale, with the Earth reduced to the size of pea, Jupiter would be over 300 metres away and Pluto would be two and a half kilometres distant (about the size of a bacterium, so you wouldn't be able to see it anyway). On the same scale, Proxima Centauri, our nearest star, would be 16,000 kilometres away. Even if you shrank everything down so that Jupiter was the size of the full stop at the end of this sentence, and Pluto was no bigger than a molecule, Pluto would still be over 10 metres away.»

I say this was revealing because it says a lot about my ignorance of astronomy. Hopefully the next generation will be better informed thanks to Spaced Out an educational project to build a scale model of the solar system. The Sun will be in Jodrell bank, Earth 10 miles away in a Macclesfield playground meaning Pluto has to be 300 miles away, probably in Fort William .