West Kirby Scaled Solar System

West Kirby is located in England and across the Dee estuary from North Wales. In Ashton Park, there are images of planets on the ground set out so that the separations between the Sun and each of the planets are to scale. The scale used is 8 metres per Astronomical Unit (AU), where an AU is the distance between the Earth and Sun; or equivalently 1 in 18,700,000,000. This means that the Sun and Earth are separated by 8 metres on the Ashton-Park solar system scale. The Google Map below shows the locations of the Sun and the giant planets on the 'planet trail' at this scale. Also shown are the locations of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, the most distant space probes, on this scale, also in the approximately north direction away from the 'Sun'.

There are also markers for the Alpha Centauri system and Barnard's star on the Google Map, on the same scale as the West Kirby solar system. The Alpha Centauri system is located to the south. How many times do you think you have to zoom out to see the nearest star to our Sun? In which city would the nearest star or stars be on this scale? Try it.

Scaled solar system on a interactive map of the Earth, powered by GoogleMyMaps. Click on the markers for names and details

There are markers for five stars, including our Sun, four gas giant planets, and two space probes.

It's not really possible to show more stars on a scaled map because the universe is 3D! Here is one such attempt at www.space.com/18964-the-nearest-stars-to-earth-infographic.html, and another at stars.chromeexperiments.com where you can zoom in to see nearest stars.

Map locations calculated by Ivan Baldry, Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University.