Exploring the Solar System on Bicycles

The Eugene, Oregon Scale Model of the Solar System was created by a father and son to show relative sizes and distances between the planets and the Sun.  The planets are steel balls set upon pyramids with information panels positioned along Eugene’s Willamette river Riverbank bike path.  The scale is 1:1 billion and dimensions are taken from the website, here.

We’ve been using Apologia’s Exploring Creation With Astronomy in our homeschool.  In this book, the kids make their own smaller scale models of the solar system.  The ability to ride bikes or walk the 4 mile-or-so size of this outdoor model definitely leaves an impression.

Inner planet map from Scale Model of the Solar System’s webpage.

AltonBaker

The model of the Sun is 4′ 6″ in diameter, compared to the actual Sun, which is 865,000 miles in diameter.

Sun Scale Model of the Solar System

The SunSun – Wikipedia

Sun Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

The model of Mercury is 190′ from the Sun and 3/16″ in diameter.  The actual Planet’s diameter is 2.4 miles and it’s average distance from the Sun is 36,000,000 miles.Mercury Scale Model of the Solar System

Scale Model of the Solar System Missing Planet

Mercury – Wikipedia

Mercury Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

The model of Venus is 354′ from the Sun and 15/32″ in diameter.  The actual planet’s diameter is 7520.8 miles and it’s average distance from the Sun is 67,200,000 miles.

Venus Scale Model of the Solar System

Venus – Wikipedia

Venus Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

The model of the Earth is 492′ from the Sun and 1/2″ in diameter.  The Earth’s actual diameter is 7,926.41 miles and it’s average distance from the Sun is 92,935,700 miles.

Earth’s Moon is 15.2″ from Earth and 1/8″ in diameter.  The Moon’s actual diameter is 2,159 miles and it’s average distance from the Earth is 238,854.98 miles.

Earth and Moon Scale Model of the Solar System

Earth Scale Model of the Solar System

Earth – Wikipedia

Earth Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

Moon – Wikipedia

Moon Photo by Wikipedia

The model of Mars is 744′ from the Sun and 1/4″ in diameter.  The planet’s actual diameter is 4,196 miles and it’s average distance from the Sun is 142,000,000 miles.

Mars Scale Model of the Solar System

Mars – Wikipedia

Mars Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

Outer planet map from Scale Model of the Solar System’s webpage.

citymap

The model of Jupiter is .48 miles from the Sun and 5 5/8″ in diameter.  The planet’s actual diameter is 88,865 miles and it’s average distance from the Sun is 483,682,810 miles.

Jupiter Scale Model of the Solar System

Jupiter – Wikipedia

Jupiter Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

The model of Saturn is .89 miles from the Sun and 4 11/16″ in diameter.  The planet’s actual diameter is 74,500 miles and it’s average distance from the Sun is 891,000,000 miles.

Here’s my boy, Buzz Lightyear, and Saturn from this post.

Buzz On a Bicycle and a Boy With Saturn

Saturn – Wikipedia

Saturn Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

The model of Uranus is 1.79 miles from the Sun and 2″ in diameter.  The actual planet’s diameter is 31,763 miles and it’s average distance from the Sun is 1,787,000,000 miles.

Uranus Scale Model of the Solar System

Uranus Scale Model of the Solar System

Uranus – Wikipedia

Uranus Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

The model of Neptune is 2.79 miles from the Sun and 11 15/16″ in diameter.  The actual planet’s diameter is 30,775 miles and it’s average distance from the Sun is 2,800,000,000 miles.

Neptune Scale Model of the Solar System

Neptune – Wikipedia

Neptune Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

The model of the dwarf planet Pluto is 3.66 miles from the Sun and 1/10″ in diameter.  The actual dwarf planet’s diameter is 1,413 miles and it’s average distance from the Sun is 3,660,000,000 miles.

Here’s my middle daughter and Pluto from this post.

Untitled

Untitled

Pluto – Wikipedia

Pluto Photo by NASA and Wikipedia

This sort of activity has to be “bikeschooling” at it’s best!

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3 responses to “Exploring the Solar System on Bicycles

    • We pass the “planets” along the bike path all the time, but haven’t ever followed the route to all of them before now. If you ever want to do it, starting at Alton Baker park or at the River Ave. access to the bike path would put you at either the Sun or Pluto.

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