Sustainable Downbeach: The Solar System is back on Ventnor’s Boardwalk

Steve Jasiecki/The Solar System Walk is back on the Ventnor Walk this year.


VENTNOR — By popular demand, the Solar System Exhibit is back on the boardwalk where people can learn a bit more about Earth’s place in the universe as they stroll the boards.

The solar system walk is a scale representation of the solar system. Display panels with fun facts representing each planet, including Pluto, and other astronomical wonders are placed at the appropriate distance from the sun. QR codes have been added to signs this year so people can access the internet and learn even more about the planets.

The planet description panels are proportionally spaced on a scale of 1 inch to 100,000 miles.

The scale of walking is one inch equals 100,000 miles. At this scale, the Sun is the size of a football, about 8 1/2 inches, and the Earth is the size of a peppercorn, about 3/16 inch. The 93 million miles from Earth to the Sun is reduced to just 73 feet.

Another interesting fact is that it takes about 8 minutes for sunlight to reach the Earth. In the reduced version, you can cover this distance in about 8 seconds, which means you will travel faster than the speed of light.

Earth relative to the size of the Sun.

The self-guided tour begins at The Sun on the promenade behind the Ventnor Community Center between New Haven and Newport Avenues, and heads into Atlantic City, ending in Pluto on Oxford Avenue. Boardwalk walkers can cover the 3.6 billion kilometers between the Sun and Pluto in just half a mile.

Walkers will notice that the farther you get from the sun, the greater the distance between the planets. There is a lot of space between the planets. Hence the term “space”.

The Sustainable Downbeach team and NASA Solar System Ambassador Michelle Stella Riordan created the exhibit to give people a better understanding of the vastness of space and to present a more accurate scale of the solar system – something something that cannot be shown in a drawing or a manual.

The sun has a diameter of 184,000 miles. At a scale of 1 inch equaling 100,000 miles, the sun will have a diameter of just over 8-1/2 inches.

The size ratio of the planets is Mercury, a pinhead; Venus, a peppercorn; Earth, a peppercorn; Mars, a pinhead; Jupiter, a chestnut; Saturn, an acorn; Uranus, a coffee bean; Neptune, a coffee bean; and Pluto, smaller than a pinhead.

For more information, please contact Michelle Stella Riordan at [email protected]

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Arline J. Mercier