Solar Events

Picture of Solar System Planets

The above composite shows the nine planets with approximately correct relative sizes. In order to get a good visual of the relative sizes of our solar system, imagine a model that has been reduced by a factor of one billion. That means the Earth is now the size of an olive. The Moon is orbiting about a foot away. The Sun is now the height of a man and about a city block from Earth. Jupiter has just become the size of a large grapefruit and is five blocks away from the Sun. Saturn, the size of an apple is ten blocks away, Uranus and Neptune, both lemons, are twenty and thirty blocks away. A human on this scale is the size of an atom and the nearest other star is over 24,850 miles (40,000 km) away.Not shown in the above illustrations are the numerous smaller bodies that inhabit the solar system: the satellites of the planets; the large number of asteroids (small rocky bodies) orbiting the Sun, mostly between Mars and Jupiter but also elsewhere; and the comets (small icy bodies) which come and go from the inner parts of the solar system in highly elongated orbits and at random orientations to the ecliptic. With a few exceptions, the planetary satellites orbit in the same sense as the planets and approximately in the plane of the ecliptic but this is not generally true for comets and asteroids.