Solar Studies : Solar Scaling

The bright midday sun always appears about the same size as the full moon, yet it is many times farther away from the earth than our moon.  At 94.041 million miles away, the sun is almost 394 times as far away as the moon!  Whenever you have measurements that large it is helpful to make models to shrink them down to size.


This badge activity asks you to create scale models of the distance from the earth to the sun and provides an approximate scale size as well. Select one of the activities below and post a photograph of you and a friend or family member holding your model of the earth and sun.

A. To complete this activity, you will need to printout a page from the Sun-Earth Day web site: This activity has been referred to as the “Solar Pizza” since it resembles a small personal pizza. You will also need a pair of scissors to cut out the small tab that holds the tiny scale size planet earth. At this scale, you will need measure 65 feet of distance to complete this activity with your photograph.


B. The Exploratorium has a wonderful online activity that allows you to set the scale of the model. Called “Build a Solar System Model” you may choose to use metrics millimeters or standard English inch units.  The distance you will need for this model is up to you!  If you have both units on your meter/yard stick this might be help when tiny decimal places are required in inches.