When we arrived, it still wasn’t raining, so we walked round the radio telescope itself.
|the Lovell Telescope|
There were some outdoor exhibits, including a pair of large parabolic dishes a 100 metres or so apart. Speak into one, and you can be heard at the other, as clearly as if you are standing right beside the person.
Around this point we noticed some small metal discs embedded in the grass with the names of the inner planets by them: I can now say that I have stood on the moon! These discs were to scale in size: further off we could see Jupiter and Saturn were not metal discs, but large circular flower beds of daffodils. The discs were also to (a different, much smaller) scale in distance; we knew we would have to walk far to find Uranus and Neptune. So we strolled off to find the outer planets in the gardens.
We were in for a pleasant surprise:
|Pluto on the planet path trail: yay!|
|Neptune, Pluto, and Eris: red dots not to scale on the map!|
|a gorgeous room-size hand-crankable orrery:|
Mercury, Venus and Earth are visible; the other planets are at the ends of ever longer rods
|Pluto’s been erased|