Welcome back to the Astrologer’s Tour of the Maine Solar System Model! Today, in honor of the Mercury Cazimi happening right now, I initiate you all into this super-fun tour!
You can read my travelogue introduction to this experience here.
The Maine Solar System Model was unveiled in Aroostook County, Maine, on June 14, 2003. As it just so happened, at the time, I had just graduated High School and was either preparing to go backpacking in Europe, or was already there. Personally, a neat correspondence! I was exploring the known reality and all while one of my future pet projects was being unveiled across the pond.
The entire project is the largest to-scale 3D model of our solar system on our Earth. It spans 40 miles! So, if you’re into it, you can stay in any of the close-by towns while in the area, touch-down at all of the planets, and then enjoy everything else Maine has to offer (I’ll likely be filling-in later with other tour suggestions and travelogue).
The SUN location is inside Folsom Hall, where the Northern Maine Museum of Science resides. Obviously, the Sun itself is so huge, that a scale model at this zoom would take up more than the whole building, so instead, the Sun is represented by a curved installation that sort of resembles a handrail, next to the actual handrail of the stairs (please use my feet, and my dog, for size reference!)
The actual Sun model looks much cooler in person than in the pictures. The artists installed sparkles into it, so if you want to trip out on glitter for a little while, here’s where you do it!!!
If you’re into long walks on a semi-rural highway (I walked the highway a few times, but I’m ballsy that way), you can easily walk-tour to Mercury, Venus, and even Mars, as an inner planet round trip is only 3 miles! In fact, this may be even better than driving, because there are no parking lots for the inner planets, and you can gauge distance better on foot. The University is very friendly in that the parking lots are free, and there’s even free wifi there, which I used to upload some of the media I created on-site.
The official University of Presque Isle Maine Solar System Model Sun page shares with us the following information about the model:
Diameter: 49´ 6″ (15 m)
Location: Northern Maine Museum of Science, University of Maine at Presque Isle.
Constructed by: Claude Boucher, Charlie Holmquist, Al Kulp and the rest of the UMPI Physical Plant staff.
Painted by Charlie Holmquist
Yes, the MSSM was constructed by local students!
Next up: Mercury!