Drive through the Solar System

The Maine Solar System Model was recently extended from its original southern terminus of Houlton to the newest identified dwarf planet model located in Topsfield. The model now includes the sun, nine planets, seven moons, and now three dwarf planets. The added dwarf planets will allow the Maine Solar System Model to have two Plutos, one in recognition of its past status as a planet and another for its new status as a dwarf planet. From Topsfield, follow US Route 1 through the communities of Danforth, Houlton, Littleton and Mars Hill (link) to Presque Isle. Along the way take time to experience the to scale solar system model as well as one of the many fine restaurants or some of the amazing architecture of Houlton's historic downtown.

The scale for the solar system model is one mile on Route 1 to the astronomical unit (AU), which is the distance from the earth to the sun. Locations for the planets along Route 1 were determined as close as possible to the average distance of that planet from the sun, which is located at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. The location for Pluto was placed at the Houlton Information Center because its distance of 40 miles from the UMPI campus matched the average distance from the sun, which is 40 AU, or forty times the distance that Earth is from the sun. However, dwarf planets typically have orbits that are more elliptical than traditional planets. For example, Pluto's distance from the sun varies from 29 to 49 AU. The location chosen on Route 1 for the dwarf planet Pluto is next to the sign at the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum, about 33 miles (AU) from the sun. This should be a good approximate location for the next 20 years.

All of the planets except the original Pluto are visible from the road and have pull outs to stop and explore the three dimensional models. Click here to visit the website.


Related Stories
7
Events
9/25/21

Guided Tour of Presque Isle Air Museum and former Presque Isle Army Air Field aboard Molly the Trolley

Take guided tour of Presque Isle Air Museum and former Army Air Field/Air Force Base aboard trolley.

9/25/21

Presque Isle Farmers Market

The Presque Isle Farmers Market at the Riverside Park in the beautiful Star City takes place rain or...

9/25/21

Guided Tour of the 1875 Vera Estey House Museum

Guided tour of small, two-story Victorian era house with fascinating history and artifacts. ...

9/25/21

Houlton Community Market

The Houlton Community Market in Historic Market Square is a bustle of activity every Saturday...

10/2/21

Presque Isle Farmers Market

The Presque Isle Farmers Market at the Riverside Park in the beautiful Star City takes place rain or...

View All >
Deals
8/11/21 10/10/21

ATV Rentals

Take a family adventure and rent ATV's and side by sides! . Explore the trails and get closer to the wild - Aroostook has alot of hidden treasures that are only seen by the trail. Guided ATV expereiences and ATV rentails are now available. Daily and...

8/18/21 10/8/21

Arnold Brook, Kayak Rental

Paddle the waters of Central Aroostook with Leo Freeman of Perception of Aroostook. Trips meet at the Arnold Brook boatlanding at 6:15 pm every Wednesday weather permitting. All are welcome. Bring your own kayak or canoe or rent one for $15. Call ahead...

View All >