July 19th, 2024

Astronomy Society launches Solar System Model into city’s orbit


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on June 3, 2022.

Herald photos by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman The model of Saturn at Chinook High School is part of the Lethbridge Astronomy Society's Solar System project in and around the city.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

After many years of hard work and perseverance the Lethbridge Astronomy Society was able to celebrate the grand opening of the Lethbridge Solar System Model Wednesday at Saturn’s location.
The event took place at Chinook High School, the host for the Saturn statue which was the last planet model to be installed last year.
President of the Lethbridge Astronomy Society Tom Anderson said they delayed the grand opening after the last installation because of a few reasons.
“The last model Saturn went into place towards the end of September and we were heading into winter and at that point in time also COVID was really raging, so we thought considering the weather uncertainties and considering the certainty of COVID being a problem, we thought we should delay it until the spring,” said Anderson.
The Lethbridge Solar System is a multi-year-long project spearheaded by several members of the Lethbridge Astronomy Society which started with an idea from Klaus Jericho back in 2004.
During the grand opening ceremony Jericho shared a little bit of the project’s history and the many people he had talked about it with during his journey.
“On the journey home from a meeting at the astronomy society in 2004 it came to my mind I said ‘well what happens if we make the dome of the post office tower the sun? If you make it twice as big as it actually is because it’s only half the globe and if you then calculate the sizes of the planets in their orbits and then make statues accordingly,’ yeah that’s a good idea… I didn’t know it would take this long,” said Jericho during the ceremony.
He spoke of serendipity and how it worked out that the inner planets ended up within city limits and the outer planets were further away.
“This is the big serendipity because now we have the solar system implanted within the city…the earth is by the new fire hall and at the Galt Museum is Mars, well I can walk over there in five minutes, but if you want to fly there it will take six months,” said Jericho.
He said the solar system model helps people to have a little perspective as to what is going on out there.
Mayor Blaine Hyggen was in attendance and offered some closing remarks.
“I’ve been saying a lot lately that Lethbridge is the gateway to opportunity, we’re the agricultural, the commercial, the financial, the transportational, industrial and sporting centre of southern Alberta. Let’s make sure everybody knows it, but why don’t we add the space station as just another little option,” said Hyggen.
While speaking to the media after the event, Anderson said that the solar system model is one of the largest models like this in the world, but the nice thing about it is that it’s still small enough that people can easily see the whole thing in one day.
“It just happens to work out with our scale model here a lot of the inner planets are in the downtown area, which is going to bring business into downtown. People are going to walk around and see the planets and they’re going to have lunch or coffee or drive out to Broxburn Vegetables and Café,” said Anderson.
He said he believes people that are in business are generally very creative and they will be able to come up with some cool projects to use the solar system model to springboard their business.
For planet locations and more information on the Lethbridge Solar System Model visit the Lethbridge Astronomy Society website at lethbridgeastronomysociety.ca

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