The Planets

So, where will each planet be “in” the model?

At the scale we’ve chosen, all the planets in the inner solar system – the four rocky, so called “terrestrial” worlds – are all located inside the castle walls, very close to what’s left of one of the castle’s turrets on the southern side, and the other planets all lie beyond the castle walls, at progressively farther distances down the footpath. Here’s a view of the inner castle as seen from the steps that go up to the famous turret on the western side. Where are we putting the Sun in our model?

pano1small-no-people-sun

There, over on the right. Ok, now, let’s add some people to show where the terrestrial planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – would be at the correct distance scale…

ss-placings-labels

That’s the remains of the turret on the castle’s south side. (By the way, I have no idea who those people were! I just nabbed them as they were innocently wandering around having a look at the castle. I asked if they’d help me out, and after I’d convinced them they weren’t being stitched up for a hidden camera TV show they were only too happy to pretend to be planets for me, so I hope they come across this page one day so I can say “thank you!” 🙂 )

So, let’s zoom out and look at the bigger picture…

pano-1-places-sun-small1

Look on the right there you’ll see four figures. They represent, of course, Mercury(closest to the Sun),Venus, Earth and Mars. Now, that’s pretty instructive all by itself! The worlds of the inner solar system are obviously very close to the Sun… but it doesn’t tell us much about the size of the rest of the solar system, does it? Keeping to the same scale let’s add the next planet, Jupiter, that will help…

pano-1-places-sun-small-jup

Wow! Jupiter is way, way away from the inner planets, isn’t it? Now we’re really starting to see just how spread out the planets in the solar system are…

Where’s the next one, Saturn? And the planets after that? Well, here they are… click on the image to enlarge it, as usual…

scale-solar-system1

Now, finally, we can grasp the full size of the solar system. Pluto – now not officially a planet (long story, don’t get me started!) – is waaaaaaaaaay down the path, almost 600m away from the Sun. Phew!

So far so good… but how big is our solar system compared to the rest of the universe? Well, let’s look at where the closest star to the Sun would be if we extended the model, keeping to the same scale…

to-cairo

Turns out that the next closest star, Alpha Centauri, would be thousands of miles away in CAIRO… which is a bit handy, because Alpha Centauri is actually a triple star system, so these famous landmarks could represent those three distant suns…

gizapyramids

So, there you have it – a scale model of the Solar System, right here in Kendal, using a very familiar landmark.

When are we going to do it?

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