Planet walk

Planet walk is now in action

The launch of the planet walk was well organised by Johannesburg City Parks, Rotary and the West Rand Astronomy Club.

The following articles amongst others covered the event:

See the solar system at the Kloofendal Reserve” and “West Rand Astronomy Club and City Parks team up at Kloofendal“.

See our main page for events organised by FroK.

Star-gazing events are offered by the West Rand Astronomy Club at Kloofendal in winter each year.

Information Sheet Re Planets Walk

Courtesy of the Rotary Club of Roodepoort

P.O. Box 3154, FLORIDA, 1710

e-mail: roodepoort_central_rc@hotmail.com

The planets walk was built with assistance from sponsors from an idea that one of the members of the Roodepoort Rotary Club picked up on a visit to a small town in France. Rotary worldwide undertake many charitable and community service projects and the Roodepoort club is no exception, we have placed libraries in under privileged schools, we help old age homes, arrange an annual holiday for under privileged kids etc. but we wanted to do a public service project that was in the public eye and the Planets Walk seemed ideal.

The walk is situated in the Kloofendal Nature Reserve in Roodepoort, the nature reserve as well as being a reserve also has a natural amphitheatre and the walk is situated around the amphitheatre – a total distance of 500 metres. The reserve also has historical significance and contains a national monument commemorating the discovery and the first mining of gold in the Witwatersrand in 1884 two years prior to the discovery of the main reef in Langlaagte

The walk is primarily an educational experience and also of general interest. The project works on two scales, the distances of the planets from the sun and from each other is to a scale matching the average distances in nature, the scale used is 1 metre = 10,000,000 kilometres, thus the earth is 15 metres from the sun representing 150,000,000 Kilometres. The second scale is the sizes of the plants in relation to each other and to the sun, the sun is represented by a 2 metre diameter steel tube sphere which doubles up as a kids’ climbing frame. Thus the earth is represented by a sphere that is 17,000 times smaller than the 2 Metre “sun”.

The planets are mounted on quarried rocks and each has an engraved granite plaque describing the planet and including statistics such as distance from the sun, size comparisons to the earth and other interesting information.

The walk is intended to be a self-guided walk but is also an ideal opportunity for teachers to orient children on what the solar system looks like in reality.

Press release from the West Rand Astronomy Club (WRAC)

  1. WRAC did the design of the planet walk for Roodepoort Rotary Club, including:  the scaling, mapping, positioning of the solar system on terrein, Design and information on the description plaques for each planet and the information board.
  2. We have decided to make it an astronomy awareness day on the 9th , therefore the members of the West Rand Astronomy Club (WRAC) will be setting up telescopes as well as numerous other visual astronomy items / presentations for the public to view from 11:00. A few of the telescopes will be fitted with special filters that will enable the visitors to see the current solar activity (sunspots). Numerous telescopes will be available in the evening after the opening ceremony (weather permitting) for the public to view the wonders of the night sky as well.
  3. Members of the Club will be available to answer any questions about the planets as well as any other questions on astronomy.
  4. We will also have 40 “moon telescopes” available on the day for children to build. We will do a lucky draw at 13:00 to select the children who will be fortunate to get a telescope, after which we will facilitate the building of the scopes.
  5. A model of the International Space Station will be on display. We will also be running a very interesting DVD presentation on the living conditions on the ISS.
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