21 Introduction

Astronomy Laboratory 5 – Scaling the Solar System

Module Introduction

An early Solar System model is shown with the sun in the center.
An early Solar System model, based on the Copernican Heliocentric Solar System. Heliocentric by Andreas Cellarius is in the Public Domain

The size of our Universe is hard for one to fathom. In order to get an idea of the size and scale, you will lay out the Solar System — in miniature and to scale. The model will highlight distances and planet sizes.

You will also model how eclipses occur, both solar eclipses and lunar eclipses, as well as partial and total eclipses. Along with phases of the moon and seasons, this concept is one of the most misunderstood in astronomy. (1)


At the end of this module, students will be able to:

  • Model the scale of the solar system
  • Model solar and lunar eclipses (1)


The material in this module includes content designed to meet the following course outcomes:

  • Explain and apply major concepts in astronomy including planets, satellites, stars, meteors, galaxies, and theories of the universe.
  • Communicate scientific ideas through oral or written assignments.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically. (1)

Assigned Readings

Learning Unit 5


  • Scaling the Solar System Activity
  • Eclipses Activity
  • Lab 5 Quiz (1)


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Astronomy Lab Copyright © by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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