By Grant Jacobs 05/07/2016


St. Kilda Beach is a little south of Melbourne, Australia. You can see the city skyline, or watch those paddling or sailing. Or you could walk the solar system.

Once set up as a temporary exhibit, the planets are now in brass. Starting at the Sun, each planet is the correct relative size and distance apart.

It’s a great way to get a perspective of how far apart the planets are. Or, for that matter, how far the Voyager space craft travelled.

The Sun is a 1.4m ball, with fiery flares.

Sun-close

Other planets are tiny ball-bearing sized object mounted on stone pillars. Venus, for example, is 1.21cm in diameter.

Venus-plinth

Saturn has unfortunately has been knocked about a bit. If there’s one planet I’d love to see through a strong telescope, it would be to look at Saturn’s famous rings.

Saturn

If you want to get to Pluto (arguments about it’s planetary status withstanding…), from memory you’d have to walk about 11 kilometres from the ‘Sun’.

You can also get some perspective of the distance to our nearest galaxy from that you’d have to walk from the ‘Sun’ around the entire earth to Proxima-Centuri.

Proxima-Centuri

If you’re ever in Melbourne, try it.

Footnotes

You could also visit the zoo: it’s excellent. You’ll never beat the lemurs for ‘cool’, though:

Me-lemur-close

(For those wondering – it was a cold day and they were sitting in the sun trying to get warm.)

This old post might give a perspective on the scale of the universe.

I hope to put up a few posts on science and science communication efforts I encounter as I travel.