Townships day trip ideas: have you ­considered Jupiter?

By Gordon Lambie

The solar system, the collection of planets, asteroids, and other stellar bodies orbiting our sun, is widely recognized as being really big. Answers vary on just how big, depending on who is asked and what is being counted as a part of the system, but it is safe to say that the distance falls into the unimaginable range of hundreds of millions of kilometres from one side to the other. That being the case, it might surprise readers to know that with the right planning and preparation, it is possible to travel across the whole solar system twice in one day without ever leaving the Eastern Townships. This is thanks not to some new invention on the part of enterprising local scientists, but rather to the fact that there are at least two different scale models of the solar system set up in our own backyard. According to Marie-Georges Bélanger from the Parc national du Mont-Mégantic, the park staff believes that the model inaugurated in the past few years across the territory of the Mont Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve is the third largest scale model of the solar system in the world that takes in both the size of the planets and the distance between them. For those looking to planet hop without travelling so far east of Sherbrooke, the Townships’ other solar system model can be found in Austin. See full story in the Monday, July 29 edition of The Record.

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