
The Peppercorn Model,
also known as the Thousand Yard Model,
is a scale model of the solar system
which shows, at the same time and on a linear scale,
both the sizes of the planets
and the distances between them.
At this scale the Sun is about the size of a soccer ball,
the Earth is about the size of a peppercorn,
and Pluto is a grain of salt about 1000 yards from the Sun.


Solar System Object 
Model Object and Diameter 
Distance^{†} (in AU) 
Added Distance 
Total Distance 

Object 
inches 
mm 
AU 
yards 
meters 
yards 
meters 
Sun

a soccer ball 
8.7'' 
22 cm 
0.00 


0 yd  0 m 
Mercury

a pin head 
0.030'' 
0.8 mm 
0.39 
+10 yd 
+9 m 
10 yd  9 m 
Venus

a peppercorn 
0.075'' 
1.9 mm 
0.72 
+9 yd 
+8 m 
19 yd  17 m 
Earth

a peppercorn 
0.079'' 
2.0 mm 
1.00 
+7 yd 
+7 m 
26 yd  24 m 
Mars

a pin head 
0.042'' 
1.1 mm 
1.52 
+14 yd 
+12 m 
39 yd  36 m 
^{*}Ceres

a grain of salt 
0.006'' 
0.15 mm 
2.77 
+32 yd 
+29 m 
72 yd  65 m 
Jupiter

a walnut, or chestnut 
0.89'' 
23 mm 
5.20 
+63 yd 
+57 m 
134 yd  123 m 
Saturn

an acorn or hazelnut 
0.75'' 
19 mm 
9.58 
+113 yd 
+103 m 
247 yd  226 m 
Uranus

a coffee bean 
0.318'' 
8 mm 
19.20 
+249 yd 
+228 m 
497 yd  454 m 
Neptune

a coffee bean 
0.308'' 
8 mm 
30.10 
+281 yd 
+257 m 
777 yd  711 m 
^{*}Pluto

a grain of salt 
0.014'' 
0.36 mm 
34.50 
+113 yd 
+103 m 
890 yd  814 m 
^{*}Haumea

a grain of salt 
0.008'' 
0.20 mm 
50.50 
+413 yd 
+377 m 
1303 yd  1191 m 
^{*}Makemake

a grain of salt 
0.009'' 
0.23 mm 
52.50 
+53 yd 
+49 m 
1356 yd  1240 m 
^{*}Eris

a grain of salt 
0.014'' 
0.37 mm 
96.10 
+1125 yd 
+1029 m 
2481 yd  2269 m 
^{*}dwarf planets 
Model Object 
Diameter 
Distance (in AU)
^{†} semimajor axis 
Added Distance 
Total Distance 
On this scale the nearest star, Proxima Centauri,
would be about 4,000 miles away!
1 AU = 1
Astronomical Unit
= average (mean) distance between the Earth and the Sun
1 AU = 1.4960 × 10^{11} meters
= 9.2956 × 10^{7} miles
Scale: 1 inch = 100,000 miles
Sites

U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY

Walkway over the Hudson, between Poughkeepsie and Highland, NY

SUNY College at New Paltz, New York

Dutchess County Rail Trail, Morgan Lake, Poughkeepsie, New York


Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY

Ulster County Fairgrounds, New Paltz, NY

Riverfront City Park, Salem, Oregon
References

The ThousandYard Model or, The Earth as a Peppercorn
from NOAO

The ThousandYard Model or, the Earth as a Peppercorn
by Guy Ottewell
 The Peppercorn Model of the Solar System
a presentation by Eric Myers for the joint meeting of the New York, New Jersey,
and New England sections of the American Association of Physics Teachers,
held at Marist College on Sept. 28th 2013.
Other Resources

Sagan Planet Walk in downtown Ithaca, New York
 Voyage Model Solar
System
on the Capital Mall in Washington, D.C.

Other solar system models (from Wikipedia)

SOLAR SYSTEM Passport to the Planets  A Scale Model of the Solar System
 Student activiy for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students

Scales of the Universe
 relative sizes of all things large and small

If the Moon were only one Pixel
 a tediously accurate scale model of the solar system

To Scale: The Solar System 
On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale
model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits

Lightspeed Model of the Solar System
 an alternative model of the solar system where the planets are
arranged by the time it takes light from the Sun to reach them.
