The planets, to scale

The above edited NASA image from 2006 shows Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, to scale. Yellow bars show the range of distances from the Sun. There is a more three-dimensional view here.

Even nicer is the image below (a team effort; click on the image for details). It shows (top row) Uranus and Neptune; (second row) Earth, the white dwarf star Sirius B, and Venus; (third row) Mars and Mercury; and (fourth row) the Moon, Pluto, and the dwarf planet Haumea. The last five are shown in more detail here.

Also displaying the orbits to the same scale is more difficult, but a variety of exhibits manage to do that, including a 10-kilometre-long model of the solar system in York, England.


A Shakespearean playground in the sky

The moons of Uranus are named mostly for characters in Shakespeare. Miranda is named after the character in The Tempest, for example. The picture on the left is from Voyager 2 (1986), while that on the right is from John William Waterhouse (1916). O brave old solar system, that has such objects in’t!