The solar system is made up of the Sun, with 8 planets orbiting the sun and countless smaller bodies like dwarf planets ( Pluto included ), Asteroids, and Comets.

It takes the solar energy system about 230 million years to complete one orbit around the galactic center. 

Solar System Model

Stay with me as I explain what a solar system model means, how to make a solar system model, advantages and disadvantages of solar system model plus its components.

What is a Solar System Model?

A solar system model is a physical representation of the solar system. It is used to represent the points and movement of the components of the solar system.

For us to fully understand how the model works we have to understand the components of the solar system.

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How to make your Solar System Model ( for a school project )

Image displaying how to make a solar system model

Before you make your solar system model, you have to know the exact color of each of the planets in the solar system. Listed below are the 8 planets and their colors:

  1. Mercury is grey
  2. Venus is pale yellow-white
  3. Earth is blue and green
  4. Mars is a rusty red
  5. Jupiter has bands of brown and white with a big red spot
  6. Saturn has bands of white and yellow
  7. Uranus is blue-green
  8. Neptune is dark blue

6 DIY Steps on How Make a Solar System Model 

Below is a list of simple DIY steps on how to make your solar system model. They are:

  1. Paint the display box
  2. Sele foam bala for your planets
  3. Paint the balls
  4. Cut out the asteroid belt and planetary rings
  5. Stack up everything and cut out a thread of your display ball
  6. Pull it together 

Paint the display box

Place a cardboard box and face the opening top sides to yourself. You can paint the box black or blue-black.

2. Select foam balls for your planets

Select foam balls in varying sizes. The largest ball should represent the Sun with the second largest being Jupiter, then Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

3. Paint the balls

Paint each ball with the corresponding color representing each planet.

4. Cut out the asteroid belt and planetary rings

Cut out four rings from poster boards and remember to size them to fit the planetary rings of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

5. Stack up everything and cut out a thread for your display box

Use glue to stick these rings to their planets then you begin to set up your display box.

6. Put it all together

Set all the planets you’ve painted with the sun in the center.

3 Components of the Solar system

It is widely believed by scientists that our solar system was created 4.5 billion years ago from a cloud of gas and dust in one of the spirals of the milky way.

The components of the solar system refer to everything existing in our solar system. They include;

  1. The Sun
  2. The Planets
  3. Asteroids and Comets

I. The Sun

The sun is the biggest star in the solar system the main producer of energy for planet Earth and the solar system. It is also known as a yellow dwarf star.

It has a diameter of 865,370 miles and a diameter of  93,000,000 miles from the earth. 

The sun also has a surface temperature of  10,000°F and a core temperature of over 27,000,000°F and has an acceleration due to gravity of 274m/s.

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2. The Planets

There are 8 planets in the solar system. They were formally nine planets but the 9th one went into extinction.

The word planet originated from the word planetes, a Greek word that means wanderer.

Planets are spherical objects with strong gravitational pulls that move around the sun at regular intervals. In order of their closeness to the sun, the planets include;

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Neptune

3. Asteroids and Comets

The asteroids and Comets are smaller versions of the planets. Comets are small objects that are made out of ice and dust. 

There are over 1,000,000 known astern and about 3,700 known comets.

Most asteroids and Comets can be found in either, 

  • Asteroid belts
  • Kuipter orbit
  • Oort cloud

Asteroid belts:

An asteroid belt is a group of orbitary asteroids between Mars and Jupiter.

The Kuipter orbit:

The Kuipter orbit refers to the asteroids and comets found around planet Neptune.

Oort cloud:

The Oort cloud is more like a shell made up of asteroids, comets, and other debris at the end of the solar system.

2 Types of Solar System Model

There are 2 dominant model theories of what the solar system is thought to look like. They are;

  1. Geocentric model
  2. Heliocentric model
  3. Geocentric model

The geocentric model describes the Earth as the center of the universe. It states that the Earth’s center is being rotated about by other planets including the moon and the sun.

This theory originated because the solar system was being observed by the ordinary naked eyes of some Ancient Greek scholars.

Object’s path always looked as if it were in the same space as it was continuously rising from the East and setting in the west at the approximately same point of the horizon whilst the party seemed stationary.

The Greeks were strong supporters of this theory including the great Aristotle and Ptolemy. This theory lasted for about 2,000 years.

2. Heliocentric model

The heliocentric model positions the Sun as the center of the universe with all other planetary bodies orbiting it.

This theory first sprung upfront Ancient Greece as well and was proposed by Aristarchus of Samoc a Greek philosopher in the 3rd century B.C.

But at the time he proposed this theory, it was not taken into consideration as they felt it was influenced by the Aristotelian view with no solid proof.

Later on during the Renaissance Era, Nicholas Coperniy a Catholic cleric and Mathematician developed a mathematical model explaining the movement of the heavenly bodies.

In his explanation, the sun was at a standstill at the center of the universe with the planetary bodies circling the Sun. The moon circled the Earth only.

This theory came to change the geocentric model theory over 2,000 years.

These are some of the major highlights of the heliocentric model theory;

  •  The movement of the celestial bodies is uniform, eternal and circular
  • The Sun is the center of the universe
  • Around the Sun, the planets move in around the orbit in this manner;  Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
  • The earth has 3 motors; Daily rotation, Annual revolution, and Annual tilting of the axis.
  • The retrograde motion of the Planets is explained by the Earth’s motion
  • Earth’s distance from the Sun is small compared to its distance from the stars.

What is the importance of Solar System Model?

This image shows the importance of solar system model
  1. The main use of a solar system model is to demonstrate how the solar system looks in space.
  2. The solar system is big and it is difficult to understand the difference in distance between the planets.
  3. A glance at the different measurement units for distance in space gives a peek of what astronomers work on within space.

4 Difference between Geocentric and Heliocentric Solar System Model

1. Earth is said to be the center of the universe.The sun is said to be the center of the universe
2. The theory proposes that all the planetary bodies move around the earth including the Sun and Moon.Proposes that all the objects in the solar system move around the Sun with the exception of the moon that moves around the Earth
3. The Geocentric theory believes that the stars orbit the earthThe Earth rotates around its axis thus giving the impression of moving stars
4. The Geocentric theory states that the movement path of the heavenly bodies is circular.States that the heavenly bodies move in an elliptical path


A solar system model is an effective tool that helps teachers in educating learners about the solar system.

New models are evolving continuously from the previous models with each model being based on the Heliocentric and Geocentric model system. The current solar system model is the Heliocentric model.

Key Takeaways

  • A solar system model is a physical representation of the solar system.
  • There are 2 founding theories of the solar system model. The Geocentric and Heliocentric model.
  • The geocentric model presents the Earth as the center of the universe with the heavenly bodies orbiting around it.
  • The heliocentric model presents the Sun as the center of the universe with the heavenly bodies orbiting around it asides from the moon which rotates around the Earth.

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