A model of the solar system stretches across the lakeside promenade in Sudbury

The solar system is a big place.

To show how Science North Sudbury has opened a new outdoor exhibit it calls the Sudbury Solar System Trail. It is a scale model of the solar system that spans the Jim Gordon Parkway in Bell Park.

“So we all know how huge the solar system is and how far apart the planets are,” said Julie Moskalyk, Science North’s chief science officer.

“But sometimes people have a hard time, you know, visualizing what it is. So if you do it outside and you do it to scale, it can be adjusted regardless of the length .”

Norman Hey of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in Sudbury pitched the idea to Science North.

“The Sudbury Astronomical Community wanted to do something that would help people understand the true scale of our Earth and its neighbors in the solar system,” Hey said in a press release.

“We brought our ideas to Science North, and it was obvious from the start that we had found a partner who could help us make this kind of project a reality.

Each planet along the way includes information and a QR code that takes people to the Science North website, where they can learn even more about the solar system.

Indigenous knowledge

Moskalyk said it was important to also include Indigenous knowledge and have the information translated into Anishinaabemowin.

“Science North has an Indigenous advisory committee that we work very closely with,” she said.

“They are our guides on our journey to reconciliation and in all that we do in science communication at our science centers in Sudbury and Northern Ontario.”

Dominic Beaudry, member of this advisory committee and Anishinaabe educator, helped with the translations.

“I am so excited to be part of the Giizhigoong Etegin Miikaanah Project,” Beaudry said in a press release.

“This will be an engaging learning opportunity for students and all members of the community to learn about our solar system while enjoying their walk along beautiful Lake Ramsey (Bitimagamasing).”

Arline J. Mercier