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The Viking Solar System Trail

Trail Overview

TrailStartPosterThumb


Click the thumbnail image above to view a poster that provides an overview of the Viking Solar System Trail.

The Viking Solar System Trail is a scale model of our solar system. The trail consists of painted disks representing the Sun and each of the eight planets in our solar system. The trail accurately represents the relative sizes of the planets, as well as their relative distances from the Sun. An accurate representation of both sizes and distances cannot be accomplished in a conventional diagram because of the difference in scales. For example, the diagram at the top right accurately depicts the relative sizes but the relative distances are completely wrong. Similarly, the diagram on the bottom right accurately depicts relative distances by showing the orbits of the planets (including the dwarf planets Pluto and Sedna), but the planets themselves are too small to be visible. The Viking Solar System trail solves this problem of scales by spreading the solar system model out over more than 4.3 km (about 2.7 miles) of paved trail.

The trail represents our solar system on a one billion to one scale. On the scale of the trail, one light-second (the distance light travels in one second) is equivalent to about one foot.

For even more information (about the trail and the Solar System), click on the thumbnail images below to see photographs of the planets painted on the trail as well as posters describing each of the planets. The trail is maintained by the Berry College Department of Physics, Astronomy, & Geology. For comments/suggestions, please email Dr. Todd Timberlake.

Trail Map

TrailMapThumb
 
The thumbnail image on the left links to a map showing the approximate  location of each planet along the trail. Click the image to see the full-scale map.

Trail Photos and Posters

The table below shows photographs of the planets, etc, on the Viking Solar System Trail, as well as the posters (if available) that we plan to display for each object.

Object Photo Poster
Sun SunThumb   Poster
Under
Construction
Mercury MercuryThumb   Mercury Poster Thumbmail 
Venus venusThumb   Venus Poster Thumbmail 
Earth EarthThumb   Earth Poster Thumbmail 
Mars MarsThumb   Mars Poster Thumbmail 
Asteroids (Inner) AsteroidStartThumb  Poster
Under
Construction
Asteroids (Outer) AsteroidEndThumb  Poster
Under
Construction
Jupiter JupiterThumb   JupiterPoster Thumbmail 
Saturn SaturnThumb   Saturn Poster Thumbmail 
Uranus UranusThumb   Uranus Poster Thumbmail 
Neptune NeptuneThumb   Neptune Poster Thumbmail 
Beyond the Solar System No
Image
Poster
Under
Construction
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