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Search the solar system on campus

Posted on 16 November 2016

The University of York’s Astronomy Society (Astrosoc) have launched a scale model of the solar system on campus.

Tom Shutt (left), Chair of Physsoc, and Mathew Hawkridge, Chair of Astrosoc, with Jupiter

The permanent art installation aims to inspire students and visitors to learn more about astronomy.

Starting from Mercury, located at the Astrocampus, and finishing with Pluto at Constantine College on Campus East, each planet features an information board allowing visitors to learn as they ‘walk the solar system’.

Taking nine months to complete, the project was funded through a grant donation by YuFund and crowd funding through YuStart. Each planet was hand-sculpted in clay before being cast in fiberglass and painted by North Yorkshire Props Dept, based in Scarborough.

Mathew Hawkridge, Chair of the University Astronomy society (AstroSoc), said: “We are so happy to see this project come together after so much time and planning. The University has been incredibly supportive of us, and the amount of hard work involved by many different people has been astonishing.

“The planets and the plinths that they sit on, designed by the University Mechanical workshops, all look amazing and we really hope they will inspire a whole range of people to get involved in astronomy.”

British astronaut Tim Peake had an early preview of the installation as he visited campus as part of the UK Space Agency’s Schools Conferences programme. Greeting more than 400 students from 80 schools, he viewed talks and exhibitions from students inspired by his Principia mission.

The installation follows previous Astrosoc outreach activities, including sending a rubber duck into space in 2014.

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