Colorado Scale Model Solar System - Boulder, CO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
N 40° 00.213 W 105° 15.832
13T E 477477 N 4428184
Quick Description: Built on a scale of 1:1 billion, this multi-block walk on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder is dedicated to the astronauts from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 9/7/2011 7:11:23 PM
Waymark Code: WMCH6A
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 5

Long Description:
OK, I've seen an illustration of our solar system in many books and on television. Usually the illustration is 3" to 6" to fit on the page. Taking this walk of a 1:1 billion scale model of our solar system opened my eyes as to the enormity of just our solar system. Each plaque for the planets (Pluto is still a planet in this model and is found at N40° 00.480, W105° 15.844) includes astronomical data about the planets, probes and other satellites that have gathered information about the planet, as well as other unique data. I will go back and do a video of this walk in the near future.

The plaque on the sun model reads:

Colorado Scale Model Solar System

The Model Solar System depicts the Sun and its nine planets to scale (1:10 billion). In the apex of the pyramid is the Sun. Along the walkway to the north, black pedestals display the planets and their innermost moons. Be careful: Every step you take represents millions of kilometers! A that scale, the nearest star (Proxima Centauri) would be the size of a cherry at the distance of the Panama Canal, 3990 kilometers from Boulder.

"The Colorado Scale Model Solar System shows both planetary sizes and distances in our solar system at 1 ten-billionth actual size. (I.e., model scale is 1 to 10 billion.) The Sun and inner planets are located in front of Fiske Planetarium on the campus of the University of Colorado, Boulder. The Colorado model is one of only a handful of walkable scale model solar systems in the world that use a true scale; that is, models that have the same scale for both diameters and distances.

The Sun is roughly the size of a grapefruit (14 cm diameter), while the planets range in size from dust-speck-size Pluto to marble-size Jupiter. Earth is about the size of a pinhead (1.3 mm diameter).

The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) are all located within a couple dozen steps of the sun, with the Earth located 15 meters from the Sun. The outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) are spread much farther apart with Pluto located about 600 meters (just over 1/3 mile) from the Sun. Walking the full length of the model would take about ten minutes, not including stops.

You can fit the Earth and the entire orbit of the Moon in the palm of your hand -- which represents the farthest humans have ever traveled.

On this same scale, the nearest stars besides the Sun are more than 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) away -- roughly the distance from Boulder to the Panama Canal." (from (visit link) )

This model was created to honor the astronauts who lost their lives in the Challenger disaster (visit link) and (visit link) .
Scientific Principle(s) being demonstrated:
Distance as well as other astronomical information. In addition, information about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.


Briefly explain if the experiment was effective for you. Could it have been better?:
This was one of the most interesting things I did this summer. I had no idea how far Mars was from Jupiter. While I knew the planets were not equally spaces, I did not realize how much further 'out' the distant planets are.


When is the apparatus/experiment available to the public:
Dawn to dusk (While there is no curfew on the campus, late hours are probably best avoided.)


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