Southern Alberta is now home to one of the world’s largest solar system models, thanks to the Lethbridge Astronomy Society. The society has shrunk down the sun to the size of the clock tower dome on the post office downtown to a diameter of 5.5 meters.
Members of the Society calculated how large each planet would be, and where its orbit would lie in relation to the historic landmark. For example, Earth is the size of a tennis ball, and its orbit falls close to the downtown Fire Station. Each planet model is sized true-to-scale and placed on a pedestal.
President of the Society, Tom Anderson, says the model will stretch from downtown Lethbridge out to Park Lake.
“One thing you might want to consider, is that if you scale down the speed of light to the same scale as our solar system model, the speed of light works out to walking speed,” says Anderson.
“The idea for this project originated with Klaus Jericho, a long-time member of the Astronomy
Society,” Anderson explains. “The project was 100 per cent funded by grants from the
Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta, Richardson Oilseed, TELUS,
and Ward Bros. Construction, with the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge School
Division/Chinook High School funding their own models.”
The planets are located throughout our community somewhere along their orbit. Locations are:
- Sun (Naato’si) The Post, 704, 4 Ave. S.
- Mercury Lethbridge Public Library, Main Branch, 810, 5 Ave. S.
- Venus Old Courthouse, 1010, 4 Ave. S.
- Earth (Ksaahkomm) & Moon (Ko’Komiki’somm) Downtown Fire Station, corner of 3 St. & 4 Ave. S.
- Mars Galt Museum & Archives, 502, 1 St. S.
- Jupiter U of L, Science Commons Building Patio, 4401 University Dr. W.
- Saturn Chinook High School, 259 Britannia Blvd. W.
- Uranus Broxburn Vegetables and Café, 5 90008 Range Rd. 210, off Hwy 3, toward Coldale
- Neptune Park Lake Provincial Park, Range Rd. 223, north of Lethbridge
For more information on the solar system model, you can visit here.