Can you picture the dimensions of the solar system?
Probably not, for they are of an order so amazing that it is difficult either to realize or to show them.
You may have seen a diagram of the Sun and planets, in a book. Or you may have seen a revolving model of the kind called an orrery (because the first was built for an Earl of Orrery in 1715). But even the largest of such models–such as those that cover the ceilings of the Hayden Planetarium in New York and the Morehead Planetarium at Chapel Hill-are far too small. They omit the three outermost planets, yet still cannot show the remaining ones far enough apart.
The fact is that the planets are mighty small and the distances between them are almost ridiculously large. To make any representation whose scale is true for the planets sizes and distances, we must go outdoors.
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