Solar System Walk

Yes - You can even do a space walk!



In 2017, to enrich the experience of visitors to the Lime Tree Observatory, a scale model of the solar system was installed right across the whole site.   It is 450m in length and accurately demonstrates the relative distances and sizes of the 8 major planets, and Ceres - the largest asteroid.

The model is built to TWO different scales.  If we'd used just one, then either the planet models themselves would be too tiny to see, or the whole model would be 45km long!  So the scales are:

Planetary SIZES:   100,000,000 : 1

Planetary DISTANCES:   10,000,000,000 : 1

If you were to walk along the model at a comfortable, steady pace, then to scale you would be moving at about 30 times the speed of light!

To create the model, a scale diagram was projected on to a sheet of marine plywood and traced.  The larger planets were cut out using a jigsaw.  The smaller ones were spun and trimmed to size on a lathe.  Members of the York Astronomical Society did this (relatively easy) part.  A local Artist, Jeremy Scott painted the beautiful details on each of the plywood pieces, which were then covered with two coats of yacht varnish to protect them from the elements.