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Lusk_Scaling the Solar System.mcdx

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Regular Member

Lusk_Scaling the Solar System.mcdx

UPDATE 2014-01-14:  The attached .zip file now contains a Mathcad Prime 3.0 worksheet (.mcdx) and—for those of you who are still using earlier verisions of Mathcad—an Adobe Acrobat printout (.pdf) of the worksheet so can see how it is put together.

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The subtitle for this worksheet is "Making sense out of vastness:  creating a solar system model on a human scale."  The purpose of this worksheet is to assist users with creating a human-scale model of the solar system by calculating the scaled distances from the Sun to each planet based on a selected scale-model distance from the Sun to one of the planets.  This worksheet is based on an Excel spreadsheet I originally set up for this purpose, but with three notable improvements:  (a) any planet can be used for scaling (not just Pluto, which has been demoted anyway), (b) the object list now includes all five recognized dwarf planets plus six more that dwarf planet finder Mike Brown (CalTech) considers worthy, and (c) the objects themselves can now be scaled proportionately.

This worksheet contains dimensions for four different solar system models:  (a) a model I built for my astronomy club that we use each spring for a public solar viewing event, (b) an eight-major-planet model I calc'ed for another club member who was setting this up at a local elementary school, (c) one based on Sedna—which is the most distant object in my list—at one mile from the Sun, and (d) one that approximates the world's largest solar system model, which is in Sweden.

The math in this worksheet is exceedingly simple (just multiplications and divisions), but this worksheet should be useful for anyone who needs to create a human-scale model of the solar system.  BTW, I did not include the major moons, but that wouldn't be a difficult task.

2 REPLIES 2
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Re: Lusk_Scaling the Solar System.mcdx

Came upon this whilst blog browsing. Provided a nice diversion whilst having a coffee.

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Re: Lusk_Scaling the Solar System.mcdx

I'm gald you enjoyed this worksheet.  This just goes to prove that not all math, and certainly not all interesting math, needs to be difficult math. 

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