The Model

castle2b

So, what will the Solar System Scale Model actually look like?

Well, it’s a very simple concept, actually – just “shrink” the solar system by using a scale that allows you to have the Sun at one end of a long track, and Pluto at the other end, and mark off the position of planets, asteroids and other notable objects at the correct scaled distances along the way.

Luckily, Kendal has “Castle Hill”, a hill that overlooks the town which features a long but gently-climbing path up to the famous castle at its top…

castle2

Using the handy measuring tool in Google Earth I found that the distance from the gate at the bottom of the hill to the far side of the castle wall is approx 548 metres. That worked out really well, because a handy “Solar System model calculator” website I found showed that the inner solar system and asteroid belt can all fit handily snuggly inside the castle ruins, and the gas giant planets – and Pluto – all lie farther away, at gradually increasing distances downhill..

This table shows the correct to-scale distances that will be used in the model (click to enlarge):

table-jpg

But how does that information translate into something practical? Well, here’s a picture showing the basic layout of the model… again, please click on it to bring up a full size version…

scale-solar-system

So, the basic idea is to have a member of the Eddington Astronomical Society, Kendal’s astronomical society, standing at each of those points, representing – and giving out printed information about – the appropriate planet…

stella-plan-s

People would then be able to walk up and down the path, visiting each “planet” in turn, learning about it from the EAS member. And as they walked they’d get an appreciation of just how far apart the worlds of our solar system actually are.

It will work best, of course, if people walk up to the castle first and start their tour at the Sun, heading back downhill towards Pluto, learning about each planet in turn as they make their way back home, but that’s entirely up to them. The main aim is for people who come along to just enjoy it, have a bit of fun, and learn about the solar system along the way…! 🙂

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