Tuesday, June 21, 2022

New project maps Lethbridge as centre of solar system

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A project by the Lethbridge Astronomy Society and the city sees our solar system condensed to fit in the Lethbridge. The Lethbridge solar system model uses the top of the Post building downtown as a scale representation of the sun. Scale models of planets are spread from downtown to Park Lake.

“It was exciting to see this because I had no idea where these orbits would fall out and by sheer chance, the inner planets are downtown and the outer planets are sort of further away,” said Klaus Jericho, project lead. “It just happened to be that way, it wasn’t planned and that’s what you call serendipity.”

Jericho said he first got the idea for the project in 2004 and the project is finally complete after years of planning and collaboration with many people and groups.

“Now that we have achieved what we have achieved we should be really proud of ourselves that we have done this because it took a lot of effort from a lot of people and it’s very unique,” he said.

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Klaus Jericho, project lead for the Lethbridge solar system scale display speaks at an unveiling event at Chinook High School on June 1. (Photo by Tyler Hay/My Lethbridge Now)

Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars models can be found downtown. The smallest, mercury, is about the size of a dime. Jupiter is at the University of Lethbridge Science Commons building and Saturn can be seen at Chinook High School. Uranus is at Broxburn Vegetables and Cafe and the furthest planet, Neptune, is at Park Lake — 18 kilomtres away from the scaled sun.

“Remember that our sun, the model, is only five and a half metres in diameter so it’s actually not that big when you figure it takes 18 kilometres to get out to the orbit of Neptune, it’s just mind bending, I think that the solar system is that big,” said Tom Anderson, Lethbridge Astronomy Society president.

He said it was lucky the scaling worked out to make it convenient for Lethbridge residents and tourists to see all the planets.

Each pedestal carries a descriptive plaque with basic facts about the planet, and a QR code that links to more information.

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