Stargazing with Pat J: If Our Solar System was Compared to a CFL Football Field

8

© 2022, Calgary Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

Our solar system is microscopic compared to the vast universe, but it is enormous by human standards. To give you an idea of just how big it is, I have compared it to Calgary’s McMahon Stadium.

Goal line: Sun, size: dime

0.8-yard line: Mercury, size: point of a needle

1.4-yard line: Venus, size: grain of sand

2-yard line: Earth, size: slightly larger than Venus. Our home is the perfect distance from the Sun for life to flourish. Venus is too hot. Mars is too cold. Scientists sometimes call our region of space the “Goldilocks Zone” because it appears to be just right for life

3-yard line: Mars, size: a small grain of sand

4 to 8-yard lines: Asteroids. They number in the 1000s and range from dust particles to 950 kms in diameter, but even if you lumped them all together, they would not equal 10% of our Moon.

10.5-yard line: Jupiter, size: 1.75 mm

19-yard line: Saturn, size: 1.47 mm

38-yard line: Uranus, size: 0.62 mm

Elks 50-yard line: Neptune, size: 0.6 mm

Elks 31-yard line: Pluto (no longer classified as a planet but I included it for scale)

Extending from SAIT to Fort Macleod: Oort cloud, where comets begin their long journey toward the Sun, and sometimes back again.