Sometimes ya just never know what you’re going to find…
I had to go to Gainesville, Georgia for a meeting this morning. I got into town early and had a little time to kill so I decided to take a walk around the town square and then hunt for a cache or two. As I was walking around the park in the square I noticed a large silver orb sitting on top of a stone monument which was engraved with the word ‘SUN’.
Unfortunately I didn’t pay close attention to the plaques on the side of the monument. I thought it was an art installation so I gave it a quick look and moved on. As I was walking back to the car after finding the two caches I picked to look for I noticed a stone monument inscribed with the words ‘ASTEROID BELT’.
Also on the monument was a bronze plaque that said that the marker was part of the “Gainesville/Hall County Scale Model/Walking Tour of Our Solar System.” The plaque also said that maps of the model were available at the nearby Hall County Library. Needless to say, I hot-footed it over to the library to pick up a map then headed back to the Sun, passing Mars, Earth & Moon, Venus and Mercury on the way.
According to information contained on the map, the Scale Model was part of the North Georgia Astronomers’ Millennium Project in the year 2000 “to commemorate the two major astronomical discoveries of just the PAST Second Millennium, while providing an educational resource for FUTURE generations in the Third Millennium.”
The Scale Model was installed in 2000 and 2001, the last year of the Second Millennium and the first year of the Third Millennium and is 1.8 miles long, stretching from the square in downtown Gainesville through greenspace and parks to Longwood Park on Lake Sidney Lanier. In case you’re wondering, the model’s scale is 1 foot equals 2,000,000,000 feet (yes, that’s 2 Billion feet…Billion, with a B). At this scale the sun’s diameter is 27 ½ inches. The Earth, located 264 feet away, would only be about 0.25 inches…smaller than a dime.
Unfortunately I had to get to my meeting and didn’t have time to walk the whole trail today but you can bet that I will the next time I’m in town.
Want more information about the Scale Model? Check out the North Georgia Astronomers website at http://northgeorgiaastronomers.org/scalemodel/.
Now GET OUT! and walk from the Sun to Pluto!