The Sweden Solar System

The Sweden Solar System (SSS) is the world’s largest model of our planetary system. The Sun is represented by the Globe in Stockholm, the largest spherical building in the world, and the planets are lined up in direction north from here.

Distances and sizes are scaled according to 1:20 million, and the inner planets are all in the Stockholm area. The outer planets follow in the same direction with for instance Neptune in Söderhamn and the dwarf planet Pluto in Delsbo, 300 km from the Globe. A number of minor planets and comets also populate SSS, which now extends from the very south to the very north of Sweden. There is a host institution for each model. SSS is a pedagogical instrument and conveys a direct feeling of the enormous distances in space, and how small the planets are compared to the Sun. Art, mythology and science merge in this project, and SSS connects many different places and different type of activities around Sweden.



The Sun

Globen, Stockholm
Diameter: 71 m (solar disk) + the corona (the Sun’s outer atmosphere)

Image: Ludvig Ehrenstråhle

Credit: Ludvig Ehrenstråhle

The Globe Arena in Stockholm is the largest spherical building in the world, and it represents the Sun in the SSS. This picture shows the Globe lit by an animation, which included a sequence showing flares on the solar surface, during the inauguration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009.




Stockholms stadsmuseum, Slussen
Diameter: 25 cm
Distance from Globen: 2,9 km

Image: Annah Wirgén

Credit: Annah Wirgén

The model of Mercury is heated to symbolize its closeness to the Sun. Craters are depicted, and on the support structure various symbols are seen, like for the orbital drift in accordance with Einstein’s theory of relativity. The museum is now under reconstruction, and the model is stored at the moment until a new temporary place has been found.




House of Science, AlbaNova University Centre

Diameter: 62 cm
Distance from Globen: 5,5 km



Image: Tanja Nymark

A new model of Venus was inaugurated on May 9, 2016 in the park outside the House of Science (Vetenskapens Hus), AlbaNova University Centre, Stockholm. The model is sculpted by Peter Varhelyi, and on five plates surrounding the model are schematic descriptions of: Venus in the sky as morningstar, Venus in its orbit, Venus’ phases, the greenhouse effect on Venus, and names of the goddess of love from different cultures.

The Observatory museum in Stockholm is closed, and its Venus model has been moved to the upper floor in Vetenskapens Hus.





Cosmonova, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Stockholm
Diameter: 65 cm / 18 cm (20 m apart)
Distance from Globen: 7,6 km

Image: Joongi Kim

Credit: Joongi Kim

The models of our planet Earth and the Moon are located outside the entrance of the space theatre Cosmonova at the Natural History Museum (in the ticket hall).

Image: Paul Schylter

Credit: Paul Schlyter

The model of the Moon, made by Peter Varheyi, is situated on a pillar in the ticket hall to the Natural History Museum, 20 m away from the model of the Earth.




Mörby centrum
Diameter: 35 cm
Distance from Globen: 11,6 km

Image: Paul Schlyter

Credit: Paul Schlyter

Mars is connected to a plate in steel symbolizing the Earth. Chemical symbols for common compounds on Mars can be found on the sphere.




Arlanda airport
Diameter: 7,3 m
Distance from Globen: 40 km


Jupiter was previously represented by an arrangement of flowers outside Sky City at Arlanda Airport. Plans for a new 3D model at another location are advancing.




Diameter: 6,1 m
Distance from Globen: 73 km

Image: Bengt Oberger

Credit: Bengt Oberger

The plans to create a nice model of Saturn are advancing. In 2010 an artistic model of the moon Titan was inaugurated in central Uppsala at the Celsius House, where the 18th century astronomer Anders Celsius worked. In addition, several Saturn moons have been given form by pupils in school classes in the area.




Diameter: 2,6 m
Distance from Globen: 146 km


Image: Hans Mühlen

Credit: Hans Mühlen

A symbolic and playful outdoor model of Uranus was inaugurated in Oct 2012 (see picture) in Lövstabruk south of Gävle. The model was built in steel by Forsmark Mechanical Workshop at the Forsmark nuclear plant located close to Lövstabruk, and where the element Uranium plays an important role. The unusual tilt of Uranus’ axis is marked.




Diameter: 2,5 m
Distance from Globen: 229 km

Credit: Paul Schlyter

Credit: Paul Schlyter

Neptune, symbolizing the god of the water and the sea, is located in the central park of Söderhamn, a coast town with long traditions of fishing and sailing. The model is lit from inside by blue light in the night.




Diameter: 12 cm
Distance from Globen: 300 km

Credit: Paul Schlyter

Credit: Paul Schlyter

Pluto and Charon are supported by two tomb-like pillars reminding of the mythological meaning of Pluto (Hades), the god of the underworld. One can also be reminded of the meteorite impact that took place here 90 million years ago, when all life became extinct over a large area, and from which the Dellen lake system formed.

Pluto is not classified as a planet anymore. It is a dwarf planet.



Asteroid Eros

Mörbyskolan, Danderyd
Diameter: 2,0 mm x 0,7 mm x 0,7 mm
Distance from Globen: 11 km


Eros, the god of love, was inaugurated on a Valentine’s day during a close encounter by a NASA space probe. The model, only 1.5 mm in size, was designed and exhibited as a school project.



Asteroid Saltis

Kunskapsskolan, Saltsjöbaden
Diameter: less than 1 mm
Distance from Globen: 17 km

Credit: Bengt Oberger

Credit: Bengt Oberger

A sculpture of an asteroid discovered by A. Brandeker in 2000 with a telescope at the Stockholm Observatory, now ”Kunskapsskolan”, was unveiled in 2010. The object was named “Saltis”, after the nickname of Saltsjöbaden.



Asteroid 5025 PL

Alsike, Knivsta
Diameter: 0,2 mm
Distance from Globen: 60 km


The asteroid Palomar-Leiden 5025 is a small dot on a relief describing SSS and placed in a park in Knivsta with “cosmic” sculptures by Eric Ståhl standing in front of the relief.




Technichus, Härnösand
Diameter: 6,5 cm
Distance from Globen: 360 km


Ixion is one of the largest minor planets discovered by a team including Swedish scientists. The model is shown in the science centre Technicus in Söderhamn..




Umestans företagspark, hus 56, Umeå
Diameter: 13 cm
Distance from Globen: 510 km

Credit: Paul Schlyter

Credit: Paul Schlyter

The model of Eris, the goddess of conflict, reflects an ancient story when Eris initiated a big quarrel starting with a controversial inscription on a golden apple.




Teknikens hus, Luleå
Distance from Globen: 912 km

Credit: Olle Nordberg

Credit: Olle Nordberg

The model of the dwarf planet Sedna, created by Antero Koskitalo, was inaugurated in 2005 at the science centre ”Teknikens Hus” located in Luleå in northern Sweden, not far from the arctic cirle. In arctic mythology, Sedna represented the ”goddess of the frozen sees” from where she supplied the eskimos with seals and whales. Sedna is comparable to Pluto in size, and belongs to a distant swarm of minor planets called the Kuiper Belt


Halley’s comet

Balthazar, Skövde
Diameter: several depictions
Distance from Globen: 260 km

Credit: Jeanette Sandh

Credit: Jeanette Sandh

Comet Halley was inaugurated at the science centre Balthazar in Skövde on December 2009. Halley is prepresented by three outdoor models inspired by drawings made by school children, and in addition one indoor model formed by laser in a block of glass. At this place the comet is at its largest distance from the Sun.

Credit: Ivar Inkapööl

Credit: Ivar Inkapööl



Swift-Tuttle’s comet

Kreativum, Karlshamn
Diameter: < 1 cm
Distance from Globen: 390 km



Swifft-Tuttle has an elongated orbit, and in SSS the comet passes at its largest distance from the Sun (aphelium) at this location in the science centre Kreativum on the Swedish southcoast.



The termination shock

Institutet för rymdfysik, Kiruna
Diameter: –
Distance from Globen: 950 km


The distant interface between the solar wind and the surrounding galactic gas, the terminal shock, has been manifested in Kiruna. A future sculpture is envisioned to express this phenomenon reminiscent of aurorae frequently seen in northern Sweden.