Articles, Blog

If the Sun was a Basketball

October 10, 2019


Hi,  we’re the kids from Eagles Wings, here in Japan,
and we want to talk about our solar system today. We often see pictures of our solar system like this. They show us the beautiful colors of the planets… and sometimes the scale of the size of the planets compared to one another. But they can’t really show us how far each planet is from the sun… or exactly how big our solar system really is. Take this one for example. It shows that Earth is bigger than Mars
and that Jupiter is bigger than Earth. But the proportions are not right. And it shows the nice colors of the planets. But not the real distances between them. So, today, we would like to show you the size of the planets… and the distance of each planet from the sun in a way that everyone can understand. What’s an everyday object we can use, that can represent the sun? We decided a basketball would make a great sun!
It’s round, and orange and kind of looks like the sun too. But actually the sun is white! But we also need lot’s of space! Where can we go,
that has lots of space, to show you our experiment? We’ve come to Minami Ashiyahama, here in the Osaka region of Japan. Isn’t it beautiful here. It’s a nice place for a walk or a bike ride, to do some fishing. Or to just sit and think about how big the universe is! A standard basketball is about 235mm in diameter. This is going to be our standard to calculate the scale of the solar system today. Now, if the sun was this basketball, how big do you think the earth would be? The size of this tennis ball, a golf ball, or maybe a BB pellet? Well, the sun is 1 million  390 thousand kms in diameter; which is 108 times the diameter of the earth! That means that, if the sun was this basketball, the earth would be a ball 2.16mm round. Only this big!
Even next to a BB pellet, our little blue earth looks tiny! But if the sun was a basketball, this is how big the WHOLE earth would be. It’s really tiny, isn’t it. In fact the Earth was so small that we dropped it and lost it, and had to make another one. Let’s look at some of the other planets too. If the sun was a basketball, then the Mercury would be under 1mm big. Venus would be about the same size as Earth. Mars, the little red planet, would be just over 1mm. Jupiter, the largest planet, would be just on 1 inch. Saturn, would be just on 20mm. And Uranus and Neptune would only be about 8mm. But what about distances. If Earth was this tiny ball, just how far away from our Basketball Sun do you think it would be?   1 meter? Maybe 5 meters? Maybe 20 meters. What do you think? Well, the earth is actually about 150 million kilometers from the sun. On this scale, that would make it about 25 meters away! Wow… you mean, this little ball, which is the whole earth… … would be 25m away from the basketball!? Let’s put it there now. And of course, there are other planets too.  What two planets are between the earth and the sun? Can you remember? Mercury, is the closest to the sun, and at about 5000 km in diameter… it would be less than 1mm big on this scale. That’s right… and it would be about 10m away from the Sun. There’s one more planet between Mercury and the Earth,
and that is: Venus. It’s just a little bit smaller than earth,
and it would be about 18 m away from the sun. Before we introduce the other planets…
let’s think about the scale of all the planets in our solar system. What is the furtherest planet from the sun? If you said “Neptune” you’d be right! Pluto is no longer thought of as a planet for those of you who were wondering! Neptune is about 4 times the size of the earth… about like this! You may be surprised, but if the sun was this basketball…. then our little NEPTUNE here, would be 769 m away. That’s almost a kilometer, about 8 football fields away. And that’s exactly why we had to come to Ashiyahama to show you the scale of the planets. Let’s walk 769m to where NEPTUNE would be. Wow, 769m is a really long way. We decided to let the boys do it. That’s a really long way away! 
Think about it! We can’t even see the Basketball sun from here, let alone the earth! And in between EARTH and NEPTUNE are
MARS: at 1.15mm big it would be 38.5m away from the sun. JUPITER, the biggest of all our planets, would be 24mm in diameter, about 1 inch. It would be 127m from the sun. SATURN, the planet with the beautiful rings around it, at 20 mm big, would be 228m away. And URANUS, at 8.6 mm big would be 487m away. And there it is… the scale of our solar system, if the sun was a basketball.

21 Comments

  • Reply saki8989 December 11, 2012 at 5:35 am

    わお!!すばらしい、天体の勉強にもなるし、英語の勉強にもなります。
    私たちのすむ地球の大きさがとても身近に感じられ、素敵な授業ですね。
    とても感動しました。とても個人撮影には感じられませんでした♪

  • Reply Beach .Rick January 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Nice video!

  • Reply VanMoto October 1, 2013 at 6:01 am

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Great video, thank you.

  • Reply Sarah Erwin May 23, 2014 at 1:24 am

    I thought that your video was amazing. It was cool how you showed us how big the planets were away from the sun which was a basketball.

  • Reply Matin Sayed October 17, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    nice work kids……….good job

  • Reply Ashton Lovell January 21, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    nice job
    p.s. I love science

  • Reply Ashton Lovell July 10, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    I have a paper to show the sizes and distances and distances of planets. On my scale, the sun is 1 cm.

  • Reply Francis Lee February 1, 2018 at 8:58 am

    COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL WORK GUYS!

  • Reply Zac Lee March 22, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I laughed when u lost the earth haha. Great job !!!! Very impressive

  • Reply Alan Roberts June 28, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Where would the next sun (star) be? About 3000 miles away ?(sorry im an american).

  • Reply Noah Gibbs September 18, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Good job

  • Reply Jimi Bard December 29, 2018 at 3:08 am

    Hey kids. Don't yoy guys find it odd. If the sun with basketball size and Neptune was almost 1km away in reduced scale. Sun was merely a dot from Neptune, How come the Sun still have the force the pull Neptune in orbit???? A dot!! Well yeah, we can say Sun has the power, so powerful to pull Neptune running in orbit. If Sun was that powerful, don't you think all the nearby planet, including Earth will not only circle in an orbit but in fact suck into the Sun itself, because the Sun is so powerful to keep a most farthest plant which merely a dot in the scale model running in orbit, the power logically will suck everything nearby into its belly. Just like magnet, the closer a metal be, the doomer its fate is. Doesn't make any sense to me. Help me to understand.

  • Reply CHW Thomas January 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    You made this before I can remember in 2014 plus I'm under the age of 13

  • Reply CHW Thomas January 25, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    I made a model in universe sandbox and earth is 5,000,000 km cause the sun is 190,480 km and I have planet nine and Pluto witch Neptune is 45,876,000 and planet nine is 2,980,876,900 km away and the sun is about looking 1 cm :10 mm: and I added moons and here are the names:Moon Phobos Deimos Metis Adresta Amalthea Thebe IO Europa Ganymede Callisto mimas Enceludus Tethys Dione Rhea Titan Hyperion Iapetus Phoebe Miranda Areil Umbreil Titania Oberon Triton and charon and here are numbers for them 1 even earth 2_3 Mars 4_11 Jupiter 12_20 Saturn 21_25 Uranus 26 Neptune and 27 Pluto

  • Reply Seattle Landscaping Company February 6, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    I liked the credits at the end… creator of the universe : GOD!! Nice work kids

  • Reply Tars Tars June 21, 2019 at 7:08 am

    Superb video boys and girls

  • Reply Andy Letke July 24, 2019 at 4:04 am

    I love this production! Great job… I’m inspired to recreate this with my kids:)
    I appreciate the details and great visuals…it’s beyond amazing to consider where we all reside.

  • Reply Ashton Lovell July 27, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    I used to watch this all the time when i was like 7-9 years old lol

  • Reply Made in Bali July 30, 2019 at 8:47 am

    What happened to his left eye

  • Reply Marcelo, Jr. Dellomes August 31, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Pluto is Far is 7.00 Diameter is Total Than Sun

  • Reply Marcelo, Jr. Dellomes August 31, 2019 at 7:40 am

    BUT Mercury is Blue is Gray only

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