Rational moms take a long walk

By Phil Plait | November 14, 2008 10:15 am

I posted about the group parenting blog called Rational Moms before, but I wanted to give them a shout-out again. One of the blogging moms took her sons on a solar system walk near Zürich, and she wrote about it.

The result of her encouraging a love of science in her kids? This little slice of awesomeness. Nicely done, Mommy Chanson!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Science
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Comments (13)

  1. Todd W.

    Very cool. Boston has a nice scale solar system, too, but on a rather larger scale. It starts with part of the sun in the Museum of Science, with Mercury at the other end of the museum. Then the rest of the planets are arranged around the greater Boston area. I haven’t visited all of the planets, yet, but I’ve at least seen the inner four.

  2. The Griffith Observatory in LA has a nice planetary exhibit as well. It’s inside, so the distances are not shown to scale (you have to go outside for that, in the front lawn), but the planets are. The sun is also represented, but hidden. In addition, each planet has scales that tell you how much you weigh on the surface. Very cool. And my two-year-old loved to climb the statue of Einstein.

  3. madge

    How’s this for a scale model of the solar system?

    http://www.spacedout-uk.com/solar_system/index.asp

    Each location has a specially commissioned sculpture and it includes many of the minor solar system bodies too! Kids love this stuff. It doesn’t take much to fire their i-madge-inations.

  4. Henrik

    Here’s another one, in Sweden. They use the Stockholm Globe Arena as their model of the Sun.

    http://ttt.astro.su.se/swesolsyst/englishsum.html

  5. Becca Stareyes

    Ithaca, New York has a nice one, the Carl Sagan Memorial Planet Walk. I keep meaning to do it — the Sun and the inner solar system fit nicely on the pedestrian mall downtown, but the rest of the Solar System is on a walk to the Sciencenter, about a km or so. The planets are also to scale (thus, tiny), and hard to see in the sealed plastic of the markers — at least the inner ones are. I know that I’ve mistaken the Moon for a speck on the plastic. Still impressive about how big the distances are.

    When we had the DPS conference around here a month ago, they got Bill Nye to visit to lead a walk, and some volunteer planetary scientists to hang out near the planets to answer questions.

  6. ioresult

    Good one! But I hope Rational Mom told her son Nico that Pluto goes closer to the sun than Neptune only once per orbit.

  7. Sili

    I still think it’s pretty impressing that he got the orbital crossing in there at all. Doubt I knew that until quite late.

  8. bigjohn756

    Hey! The ICR could use that kid’s drawing in one of their textbooks.

    Off topic but very interesting: http://www.icr.org/article/4272/

  9. Hugo

    Yes it is impressive, I sure didn’t know about that at his age and most adults I know don’t either.

  10. I’ve been wondering for a while about Pluto and Neptune. Supposedly one of the requirements of being a planet is “clearing your orbit” – Pluto was demoted, at least in part, because it has not clear its orbit of other bodies, such as asteroids and icy objects. But Neptune has Pluto crossing its path! So doesn’t that mean that Neptune hasn’t cleared its orbit, either? Shouldn’t Neptune be a dwarf planet?

    It’s obvious that Neptune is a gaseous planet, whereas Pluto and other such objects are more likely captured debris or such – but that isn’t part of the reason Pluto was demoted, so it underscores the sort of arbitrary nature of demoting Pluto.

    I’m impressed that the drawing includes the asteroid belt – that was something I was sort of ignorant of as a kid (along with Pluto’s weird orbit). Is that largest one Ceres?

  11. Rational Moms would make a perfect name for a group actively fighting antivaccinationists. I’m just putting it out there.

  12. Wendy

    Look at that!! Even Pluto’s orbit is irregular!! Awesome!!

  13. 1m:10^9m, so to hike at the speed of light, you’d have to walk at 0.3m/s or 18m/min or just over 1kph. Light doesn’t leisurelyly stroll, it just crawls at this scale.

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