Our Solar System

Our Solar System is large, beautiful and empty.

The Sun contains 99.8% of the mass of the entire Solar System. The Sun’s gravity is what holds the Solar System together. The Parking Lot Solar System starts at The Sun and goes to the most well known Kuiper Belt Object – Pluto.

However, our Solar System is larger than the orbit of Pluto, it extends to Apache Junction on this scale (Tomahawk Road – ish). Out there, at the edges, is the theorized Oort Cloud, icy objects that were formed 4.6 billion years ago.

Take a walk from The Sun to Pluto, feel all that space, know where we fit – one of a billion trillion Solar Systems in a Universe of Galaxies.

How special we are, to be able to witness this amazing wonder, this amazing place – our Parking Lot Solar System. (cheese for effect)


About Scale

This Project is a Scale Model of Our Solar System.

Model Scale: 8,436,360,000 : 1
(Eight and a Half Billion to One)

Our Solar System is large, very large, immensely large. From the Sun to the edges of the Oort Cloud – our Solar System is over 65 billion miles in diameter. To fit the complete Solar System in a scale model is difficult, did I mention it’s size?

Continue reading “About Scale”

The Sun to Pluto

Scroll through the planets of this Scale Model as you walk from the center of our Solar System to the Kuiper Belt Dwarf Planet named Pluto...

The Sun

Classification: A Star

Diameter: 864,890 miles (1,391,900 KM)

Scale Diameter: 6.5 inches (165 cm)

Center of our Solar System.

The Sun is a G2V type, yellow dwarf, main sequence star, sitting solidly in the middle, average size and brightness. 
70% hydrogen, 28% helium and 2% other metals.

A million Earths can fit in the space of The Sun. 
A thousand Jupiters can fit in the space of The Sun.

An Astronomical Unit (AU) is the average distance between Earth and The Sun, which is about 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers.

More information from NASA.


Classification: Terrestrial Planet
(A terrestrial planet, telluric planet, or rocky planet is a planet that is composed primarily of silicate rocks or metals.)

Diameter: 3,030 miles (4,878 km)
Distance from Sun: 36,000,000 miles (57,900,000 km)
Distance ranges from 26 to 43 million Miles. (Eccentric and fast orbit)

Scale Diameter: 0.0227 inches (0.5 mm)
Scale Distance from Sun: 22.5 feet (6.8 meters)

Orbital Period: 88 days

Closest Planet to The Sun. Smallest Planet.
Surface temperature ranges from -279 F to 806 F.

More information at NASA/Mercury


Classification: Terrestrial Planet

Diameter: 7,520 miles (12,104 km)
Distance from Sun: 67,000,000 miles (108,160,000 km)

Scale Diameter: 0.056 inches (1.4 mm)
Scale Distance from Sun: 42 feet (12.8 meters)

Orbital Period: 224 Days

Most circular orbit of all Planets. Cloud layer of sulfuric acid in a carbon dioxide atmosphere.
Third brightest object in Earth's sky.


Visit NASA/Venus for more.


Classification: Terrestrial Planet (Home)

Diameter: 7,926 miles (12,756 km)
Distance from Sun: 92,960,000 miles (149,600,000 km)

Scale Diameter: 0.059 inches (1.5 mm)
Scale Distance to Sun: 58.25 feet (17.74 meters)

Orbital Period: 365 days (1 year)

The Moon 

Diameter: 2,159 miles (3,476 km)
Orbit distance: 225,623 miles (384,403km)

Scale Diameter: 0.016 inches  (0.4 mm)
Scale orbit distance: 1.79 inches (4.5 mm)

28 Earths could fit in the space between the Earth and Moon.
All of the other Planets can fit side by side between the Earth and Moon.

We are protected from The Suns strong Solar Energy by our Magnetosphere! Yay Magnetosphere!

More at NASA/Earth


Classification: Terrestrial Planet

Diameter: 4,222 miles (6,794 km)
Distance from Sun: 141,700,000 miles (227,936,640 km)

Scale Diameter: 0.032 inches (0.8 mm)
Scale Distance from Sun: 88.75 feet (27 meters)

Orbital period: 687 days
Moons: 2

The Red Planet. Most visited planet, aside from Earth. Mars has the largest known volcano in our Solar System - Olympus Mons. (Not in the picture below)

Right now the rover Curiosity is up there - roboting around. Go here to see it's latest reports.

More about Mars at NASA/Mars


Asteroid Belt

Classification: Asteroid Belt

Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter is the Asteroid Belt. The largest object in that belt we know of is Ceres. (Pictured above)
The Asteroid Belt is mostly empty, with the asteroids being spread out over the areas large volume. There are hundreds of thousands of asteroids currently on the books. The total amount is estimated to range into the millions.
Diameter: 590 miles (950 km)
Distance from Sun: 257,031,000 miles (413,900,000 km)
Scale Diameter: 0.0039 inches  (0.1 mm) ( a tenth of a millimeter)
Scale Distance from Sun: 160.75 feet (49 meters)
Orbital Period: 4 years, 220 days
More about Ceres at Wikipedia.
Sizes of the first ten Asteroids to be discovered compared to the Earth's Moon, all to scale. The objects, left to right are: 1 dwarf planet Ceres, 2 Pallas, 3 Juno, 4 Vesta, 5 Astraea, 6 Hebe, 7 Iris, 8 Flora, 9 Metis, and 10 Hygiea.


Classification: Jovian Planet
(Gas and ice giants, made of mostly Hydrogen, Helium and Ice in the outer planets with a solid possibly molten core. Not inhabitable, but their Moons are.)

Diameter: 88,846 miles (142,984 km)
Distance from Sun: 483,500,000 miles (778,369,000 km)

Scale Diameter: 0.668 inches (16.9 mm)
Scale Distance from Sun: 302.75 feet  (92.29 meters)


Orbital Period: 11.86 years
Moons: 66 / 67
More information about the massive Jupiter at NASA/Jupiter.
Voyager 1 at Jupiter - Red spot
Image taken on March 5, 1979

Jupiter's largest moon is Europa

"Europa has the smoothest surface of any known solid object in the Solar System. The apparent youth and smoothness of the surface have led to the hypothesis that a water ocean exists beneath it, which could conceivably harbor extraterrestrial life." !!!!

In the works now, the 'Europa Clipper', our next major exploration of Europa.



Classification: Jovian Planet

Diameter: 74,900 miles (120,536 km)
Distance from Sun: 888,750,000 miles (1,427,034,000 km)

Scale Diameter: 0.5437 inches  ( 13.8 mm)
Scale Distance from Sun: 555.23    (169.9 meters)

Orbital Period: 29 years
Moons: 62
Saturn is not the only planet with rings. But here they are the most prominent. Saturn is the least dense of all the planets.

Learn more about Saturn at NASA/Saturn.


Classification: Jovian Planet

Diameter: 31,763 miles (51,118 km)
Distance from Sun: 1,783,744,300 miles (2,870,658,186 km)

Scale Diameter: 0.22 inches  (5.5 mm)
Scale Distance from Sun: 1117 feet   (340.5 meters)

Orbital Period: 84 years
Moons: 27

Uranus was the first planet discovered through the use of a telescope.. This icy planet has a 90 degree tilt to its rotation - it is 'on it's side'.  And it is the coldest planet in our Solar System - getting as low 55 K (-218 °C/-360 °F).




Classification: Jovian Planet

Diameter: 30,779 miles (49,532 km)
Distance from Sun: 2,797,770,000 miles (4,496,976,000 km)

Scale Diameter: 0.2121 inches   (5.3 mm)
Scale Distance from Sun: 1751.1 feet   (533.7 meters)

Orbital Period: 164.8 years
Moons: 13
Neptune must be lonely all the way out there. We have only ever sent Voyager 2 by it once. Please visit this site (wiki) to learn more about our visit to Neptune.


Voyager 2 image of Neptune's rings.


Here we are, the last stop on our tour of Our Solar System. You are now in the Kuiper Belt, far, far from home...


Classification: Dwarf Planet

Diameter: 1473 miles (2,370 km)
Distance from Sun: 2,756,902,000 to 4,583,190,000 miles (4,436,820,000 to 7,375,930,000 km)

Scale Diameter: 0.01 inches   (0.2 mm)
Scale Distance from Sun: 2301 feet (701.36 m)

Orbital Period: 248 years
Moons: 5

Visited recently by the New Horizons robot in July of 2015.

Surface of Pluto - Taken by New Horizons.


Beyond the Scale Model...

The Kuiper Belt

Distance: 2.8 to 4.6 billion miles
Other Dwarf Planets in the Kuiper Belt:
The New Horizons Spacecraft is headed out to explore the Kuiper Belt!
More about Kuiper Belt Objects Here: 

Voyager 1

 Voyager 1

Distance: 11,780,000,000 miles (19,000,000,000 km)

Speed: 38,000 mph (61,000 km/h)  

Below is a famous image that Voyager took, looking back at Earth, a pale blue dot. (hardly visible in the image here - click to learn and see more)

The Pale Blue Dot



The Oort Cloud

Distance from Sun: 65,060,000,000 miles  (104,703,920,640 km)
(very estimated)
Scale Distance from Sun: 7.7 miles (40,720 feet) (12.39 km)
In this scale model - that is to Tomahawk Road in Apache Junction.
The Oort cloud, named after the Dutch astronomer Jan Oort, is a theoretical cloud of predominantly icy planetesimals believed to surround The Sun to as far as somewhere between 50,000 and 200,000 AU (0.8 and 3.2 ly)
The outer Oort cloud may have trillions of objects larger than 1 km (0.62 mi), and billions with absolute magnitudes brighter than 11 (corresponding to an approximately 20-kilometre (12 mi) diameter).
So many objects of ice, billions of years old.
And there at the farther reaches of the Oort Cloud - is the edge of Our Solar System. After that it's turtles, it's turtles all the way down.

The Nearest Star

Distance:     25,101,159,000,000 miles  (40,396,400,000,000 km)
(4.3 light years - In this model a light year is 697 miles or 1122 km long)
Scale Distance: 2977 miles (4791 km)
Half-way into the Atlantic ocean from here.
This is our closest neighbor star!

Galactic Center

The Center of the Milky Way Galaxy (Our Galaxy)
Distance:  146,000,000,000,000,000 miles
(234,900,000,000,000,000 km)
Scale Distance: 19,321,537 miles (31,094,999 km)
In this scale - halfway to Mars.
"The Galactic Center is the rotational center of the Milky Way. The estimates for its location range from 7.6 to 8.7 kiloparsecs (about 25,000 to 28,000 lightyears) from Earth in the direction of the constellations Sagittarius, Ophiuchus, and Scorpius where the Milky Way appears brightest. There is strong evidence consistent with the existence of a supermassive black hole at the Galactic Center of the Milky Way."
More information on the Galactic Center wiki page.

The Nearest Galaxy

Distance: 5,120,000,000,000,000,000 miles 
(24,330,000,000,000,000,000 km)
Scale Distance: 1,792,000,000 miles (2,884,000,000 km)
That is almost two billion miles in Scale Distance.
In this scale that is to our planet Uranus from here.
"At a distance of about 2.5 million light years, the Andromeda galaxy (also known as NGC 224 and M31) is the nearest galaxy to the Earth apart from smaller companion galaxies such as the Magellanic Clouds. Like the Milky Way, Andromeda is a spiral galaxy."

Where to go from here...

Thank you for taking a walk with the Parking Lot Solar System. I hope you found the experience interesting and insightful.  Personally, I am in awe of the size of Our Solar System and how we fit into this ever expanding Universe. Even though it is so big, so immensely humongous, it is our actions here on Earth which matter the most. I am happy to have an opportunity to share a passion with my friends. What can you share with us?

Now, travel home and drink some water.