The Spaced Out Project

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Most of us have difficulty grasping the vast distances in Astronomy, even within our Solar System. Diagrams in books and models such as mobiles using spheres of various sizes often lack real scale. To help us all, an ambitious and innovative project called Spaced Out is underway...

Spaced Out is the UK's national project to create the world's largest scale model (in terms of distances) of our Solar System. It was launched in March 2004 at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, home to 'the Sun'.

The project has two main aims: education and public outreach. When complete (hopefully during 2007), a total of 18 artistic installations representing the Sun, planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, trans-Neptunian Objects, Centaurs and Halley's Comet will be on public display at scaled distances from Jodrell. The scale of the project is 1:15 million.

The installations are located either at key visitor attractions or within the grounds of primary and secondary schools. The project is truly national, stretching from Cornwall to the Shetland Isles.

Mercury is located in Holmes Chapel at Hermitage Primary School, just down the road from Jodrell Bank. The Earth is at Tytherington High School in Macclesfield and Saturn is located in the grounds of Lancaster Girls' Grammar School. By complete chance, Uranus is located at the William Herschel Museum in Bath, the exact spot from where it was discovered in 1781.

When constructed, Neptune will be at the Armagh Planetium in Northern Ireland and dwarf planet Pluto will be in Aberdeen. The trans-Neptunian Object Varuna is already located at Camborne Community School in Cornwall and outlier TL66 (it doesn't even have an official name yet)will be at Whalsay School on the island of Whalsay in Shetland.

Representing the known Solar System by the UK means that on the same scale, the nearest star would be 6 times further away than the Moon!

Full details of the locations can be found on the Spaced Out website,

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