LVAAS - THE LEHIGH VALLEY AMATEUR ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY: Promoting, Facilitating and Teaching Astronomy Since 1957

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Planet Walk


Planet Walk

About the Rev. Dr. Ernest F. Andrews Memorial Planet Walk

The Planet Walk is a scale model of the Solar System stretching 3,676 feet along the Bridle Path in Allentown's Little Lehigh Parkway. The Planet Walk is designed to a scale of one foot equaling one million miles. At this scale, the Sun is about 10 inches wide, Jupiter is about one inch wide, and Pluto is a tiny period at the end of this sentence. While the planets are small, their actual average distance from the Sun at this scale is quite large. The Earth is 93 feet from the Sun (93 million miles) and Pluto is nearly three-quarters of a mile away! At this scale, to reach the nearest star, you would have to travel to Hawaii.

The LVAAS erected the Planet Walk in December of 1996 as a memorial to the late Rev. Dr. Ernest F. Andrews. Ernie Andrews was a member of the Society for nearly 20 years. His contributions to the Society were many, but his love of the heavens and the warmth he showed to all members, new and old, were his legacy. The Society has named one of its observatories at Pulpit Rock for Ernie Andrews, and the wonderful poem he wrote for the dedication of the Spacek Observatory (also at Pulpit Rock) is proudly displayed for all who pass by to read.

The Planet Walk was erected with funds donated to the Society by his friends and fellow LVAAS members. The LVAAS would like to acknowledge the efforts of Ray Harris (who promoted the plan to build the Planet Walk, came up with the basic design, and arranged for the assistance of the Allentown Parks), Ernie's daughter, Priscilla Andrews (another LVAAS member who wrote much of the text for the Planet Walk), and the Allentown Parks Supervisor (who enthusiastically embraced the idea and approved the use of the Little Lehigh Parkway as well as providing the posts, the assembly of the signs, and the placement of the posts along the Bridle Path).




Entrance to Little Lehigh Parkway

Sign at the Parkway entrance

Parking area near the Planet Walk

Sign pointing toward the Planet Walk

First four "planets" on the Planet Walk

View from near "the sun"

One of the plaques

Close-up of the sun's plaque

What is a Planet Walk?



Enter the Little Lehigh Parkway from 15th Street in South Allentown (Also called Jefferson St.) (See Photos 1 and 2). About one mile into the parkway, you will reach a steel bridge with a white house to the left and a parking lot to the right. (See Photo 3). Park in the lot and walk toward the water where you will see a sign pointing along the Bridle Path and taking you under the steel bridge (See Photo 4). Here you will find the beginning of the Planet Walk with the inner Solar System including the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. (See Photos 5 and 6). The first post is for the Sun. (See Photos 7, 8 and 9).

As you walk to Pluto, you will begin to appreciate the vast distances and the scale of our Solar System. On the return trip, you will be amazed at how "crowded" the Solar System is once you pass Mars.

The Planet Walk is a pleasant walk through the park along the Little Lehigh and through the woods ending near a covered bridge. It's suitable for all ages and for groups.



Last Updated Sunday, April 29 2018 @ 08:38 am EDT|17,862 Hits


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