Model Solar System

Central campus
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Introduction


the sun


mercury


venus


earth


mars


asteroid belt


jupiter


saturn


uranus


neptune


pluto


On the eastern border of the main quadrangle is the Model Solar System, researched by the Department of Physics as a series of twelve stainless steel plaques that illustrate the distances between the sun, nine planets and asteroid belt.

The ground level plaques, beginning between the Farrington and Estill Buildings and ending 645 feet away near Austin Hall, have weathered throughout the years, with dirt and grass making some of the plates difficult to read.

The size of the planets and the distance between them has been reduced 30 billion times in this model; by this scale, the sun would be the size of a plum, the earth would be the size of a grain of salt and Pluto would be no larger than a tiny grain of pepper. If the scale were continued, the plaques note the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, would be 836 miles north of campus, roughly around Des Moines, Iowa.


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