Observations and results
Can you see the Neptune peppercorn when you stand next to the sun? Were you surprised how far apart the planets were? Of course, the space between the planets is not totally empty. There are floating rocks called asteroids, many of which orbit around the sun in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter.
The solar system is just one tiny part of our galaxy (which is just a tiny part of the universe). The nearest star to our sun is about 25 trillion miles (4.24 light-years) away. What about in the peppercorn-scale sun universe? It would be the equivalent of 36.6 miles (58.9 kilometers) away from your peppercorn-size sun. That's a long trip—even in a microscopic space shuttle.
Share your solar system model observations and results! Leave a comment below or share your photos and feedback on Scientific American's Facebook page.
Be sure to pick up all of the peppercorns (or whatever objects you used to mark the planets and sun).
More to explore
"8 Wonders of the Solar System" from Scientific American
"Hubble Spies Evidence of Seasons on Neptune" from Scientific American
Solar System Exploration for kids from NASA
Solar System Scale Model from Phrenopolis
What's Out There? A Book about Space by Lynn Wilson, ages 4–8
Don't Know Much about the Solar System by Kenneth C. Davis, ages 9–12
Get the Iron out—of Your Breakfast Cereal
What you'll need
• Breakfast cereal that contains iron, such as fortified cornflakes (check the label to see how much iron each serving contains—the more the better!)
• Bowl and spoon (or mortar and pestle)
• Magnet (as strong as possible)
• White piece of paper
• Resealable zip-top bag (optional)
• Water (optional)