Solar System to Scale: Sun and Planets
It's often hard to fully grasp just how big the planets in the solar system are. 1.3 million Earths could fit in the Sun, but that is hard to picture. A good way to help with this problem is drawing the planets to scale. This dataset has the Sun as the background and then has a picture of the solar system drawn to scale. The Sun is also to scale with the rest of the planets. By far, Jupiter is the largest planet with Saturn the second largest, but they are certainly no where close to being as big as the Sun, which has a radius of 432,000 miles (695,000 km). Now that Pluto is no longer classified as a planet, Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, is the smallest planet with a radius of 1516 miles (2440 km). The second planet in the solar system, Venus, is the third smallest planet with a radius of 3761 miles (6052 km). Earth, of course, is the third closest planet to the Sun and the fourth smallest with a radius of 3963 miles (6378 km). Just past Earth is Mars, the fourth planet in the solar system. Mars is the second smallest planet with a radius of 2111 miles (3397 km). The first four planets are called terrestrial planets because they are made mainly of rock and have thin wispy atmospheres.
The outer planets are called gas giants because they are large and consist mainly of hydrogen and helium. The gas giants also typically have a large number of moons, while the terrestrial planets have limited moons. The first gas giant, Jupiter, is certainly a giant. The radius of Jupiter is 44,423 miles (71492 km). More than 1300 Earth's could fit inside Jupiter. The next planet past Jupiter is Saturn, the second largest planet. The radius of Saturn is 37,449 miles (60268 km). The rings of Saturn would be the width of a credit card and would extend much further than the picture shows. The edge of the brightest rings extends 75,900 miles (122,200 km) from Saturn and the faintest rings extend out 300,000 miles (483,000 km) from Saturn. The seventh planet from the sun is Uranus. Uranus ranks as the third largest planet with a radius of 15882 miles (25,559 km). Now considered the eighth and final planet in the solar system is Neptune, the fourth largest planet with a radius of 15,389 miles (24,766 km). Uranus and Neptune are very close in size. The final object in the picture is Pluto, which is now classified as a dwarf planet. Pluto only has a radius of 715 miles (1150 km). It was demoted from planet to dwarf planet in 2006 when new guidelines were created to classify planets and Pluto didn't meet all of the qualifications.
- All of the planets in scale to one another and to the sun
- The rings of Saturn are not to scale