Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Solar System according to Pascal

How much I love school projects. This one was particular father-son fun.

The Solar System according to Pascal

Planet diameters are scaled 1000km to 1mm. Pascal chose this scale since he already had made a "Neptune" from crumbled up masking tape.
Planet distances are scaled 50M miles to 1 inch, because we needed to fit 3000M miles into the 60 inches we had available with the bamboo sticks.
The funny scales worked out to some ... congestion ... for the inner solar system.

The sun's diameter ends up being140 cm, so we skipped building the whole thing, and instead constructed a segment of the sun using hot glued cardboard strips, covered with painted masking tape. Radius of the surface is still correct with about 70 cm.

Mercury is half an inch away from the surface of the sun. Venus and Earth are about 1.3 and 1.8 inches away, with Mars at 2.9 inches. Jupiter and Saturn are nearby, while Uranus and Neptune are appropriately far away.

"Wow, Papa, the solar system is really big." -- He understood the lesson.

By the way, Pascal made the choices what to build and how. I helped with logistics e.g. using the big drill to build "shoes" for the bamboo sticks, or showing Pascal how to construct a sun from cardboard strips, hot glue, and masking tape.