'Planet Trek' offers chance to walk or bike scale model of solar system

June 19, 2009

by Kiera Wiatrak

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Place and the Monona Terrace invite the public to Planet Trek Fest at Monona Terrace on Saturday, June 20.

The event, which will take place between 9 a.m. and noon, will kick off the summer season of the International Year of Astronomy.

Participants can walk or bike along the Planet Trek Dane County, which presents a scale model of the solar system starting with the sun at the Monona Terrace and ending with Pluto in Mount Horeb.

Participants can visit the planets at their own pace, stopping to talk to local astronomers stationed out to Saturn, or they can go with an astronomer-led group at 9:30 a.m., leaving from the Monona Terrace.

The NASA-funded exhibit, "From Earth to the Universe," will feature astronomical images from NASA sources at Monona Terrace.

There will also be activities at Monona Terrace for the entire family, including a station where kids can stretch their legs and see how fast they can run a light minute in proportion to the solar system.

"We hope to get people involved in this daytime activity and get them enthusiastic about participating in other astronomical events throughout the summer," says Jim Lattis, director of UW Space Place. "We think it will be a lot of fun, a combination of recreational and educational."