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Explore the galaxy with U of T Scarborough’s Solar Walk event this long weekend

U of T Scarborough's inaugural Solar Walk begins with a tour of the campus' new scale model solar system, which is set to become the largest model solar system in the world. (Photo by Alexa Battler)

Travel through U of T Scarborough’s new campus-wide scale model solar system, learn from astrophysicists and peer into space at U of T Scarborough’s inaugural Solar Walk this long weekend.

The Solar Walk is the campus’ new model solar system installation, a permanent feature created through the U of T Scarborough Canada 150 Fund and proposed by Assistant Professor Hanno Rein.

“There are already many astronomy-related events going on regularly downtown,” Rein says. “Scarborough has some catching up to do. I hope U of T Scarborough can fill that gap.”

Ten planet markers have been placed throughout the campus at the exact location of each celestial body on July 1, 1867 – the day of Canada’s confederation. The markers include descriptions of each, and details their positions in the solar system.

“I find it very exciting to really get a sense of scale,” Rein says. “In the scale of the Solar Walk, you have to walk several kilometers to reach them all.”

Voyagers will soon have to travel a bit farther to visit every part of the model. A final marker representing Proxima Centauri b, the closest star to the sun, will be sent to Nunavut in the coming weeks. Rein says with this addition, the model will span 4,000 kilometres. He says this will make it the largest scale model solar system in the world.

 The Solar Walk is free and runs every night from Friday June 30 to Monday July 3 with the same schedule.

 At 7:30 p.m., a guided tour of the model solar system begins near the bus loop, at the marker for Uranus. The tour will visit seven other planets before ending at the sun. Adventurers can find Neptune by the Miller-Lash House and Pluto by the UTSC Tennis Centre in the campus’ Ravine zone.

“Especially if you bring your family, it's an exciting treasure hunt to find all the planets,” Rein says.

At 8:30 p.m., U of T faculty members will give presentations on astrophysics. On Friday and Sunday, Alan Jackson will present 150 Years of Solar System Astronomy. On Saturday and Monday, Daniel Tamayo will present Dance of the Planets: A Tale of Order and Chaos.

 Weather permitting, voyagers of the Solar Walk can end their journey by peering through one of the telescopes at the UTSC Observatory, on the roof of the Science Building, at 9:30 p.m. 


© University of Toronto Scarborough