A Scale Model of the Solar System

BodyActual Distance from Sun - r(1012m)Actual Diameter of Body - D(108m)Scale Distance from Sun (feet)Scale Diameter of Body (inches)Object Representing Body
Sun13.913Globe painted yellow
Mercury0.0580.049480.05Head of a shirt pin
Venus0.1080.121900.1Head of a map pin
Earth0.1500.1281250.1Head of a map pin
Mars0.2280.0681900.05Head of a shirt pin
Jupiter0.7781.4306491.5Golf ball
Saturn1.4271.20511911.2Ball with rings
Pluto5.9050.02448750.02A typed period

NOTE: At this scale, the next nearest star, Alpha Centauri, would be 6260 miles from the Sun! Also, at this scale, the Moon would be about 4 inches from the earth and would be a tiny ball about 1/32 of an inch in diameter. This scale model provides a powerful witness to the immense size of God’s creation.  Our Sun is an average-sized star.  Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains about 300 billion stars.  Astronomers estimate that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.

What does this mean for our faith?

About 3000 years ago the psalmist wrote:

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

When I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;

what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?   (Psalm 8:1, 3-4 NRSV)

The psalmist looked up at the Sun, Moon and stars and stood in awe of the wonders and the expanse of God’s creation. Thanks to modern science, we know so much more than the psalmist did, making this universe and God’s care for us all the more astounding.

The universe is so much larger than the psalmist could have imagined and filled with marvels the psalmist could never have dreamt of.

While the vast scale of the universe makes us and the Earth seem almost insignificant by comparison, the Bible affirms that God truly knows each of us and cares more deeply for us than we can ever realize.

Even more than that, the Gospel declares that this God, who created our immense, wonder-filled universe, came to share our human life here on Earth. Jesus was born as one of us, grew up, played, laughed and cried. He was truly human in every way. Jesus came not only to share our life, but also to share God’s life with us. In Jesus, God came to us, not to be served, but to serve us (Mark 10:45) – living, dying on the cross and rising to new life – all for us! Living and growing in relationship with this God is the most awe-inspiring adventure imaginable!

Solar system graphic by Kevin Gill/cc via Flickr/CC 2.0