Find Uranus on Alki

While walking along Alki Avenue in West Seattle today I encountered the planet Uranus. Not the actual planet—that would create some unpleasant conditions—but an artist’s representation that is part of a scale model of the solar system created by kids at the Three Dragons Academy, an arts-based alternative for elementary-age children.

Uranus as part of the Three Dragons Academy scale model of the solar system.

This sandwich board along Alki Avenue SW marks the location of Uranus in the scale model of the solar system created by students at Three Dragons Academy. Their Sun, 18 feet in diameter, is outside the University Heights Center 7.3 miles away. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

Last month the students, aged five through 10, studied painting and scale. This city-wide art installation is the result of their work. The Sun is an 18-foot circle painted and chalked onto the south plaza of the University Heights Center at NE 50th Street and Brooklyn Avenue NE. At that scale Uranus is about eight inches in diameter, and is at 58th Avenue SW and Alki Avenue SW, in front of Coastal Surf Boutique, across the street from Duke’s Chowder House, and just a block away from Astro Biz Blue Moon Burgers. That places Uranus about 7.3 miles from the Sun as the crow flies, at least according to the Google Maps measuring tool. The scale of the model solar system is about 1:253,718,000.

At that scale Mercury, just three-quarters of an inch in diameter, is a mere six blocks away from the Sun at 50th and Roosevelt. All of the other planets are represented, too, and, bless them, the students have even included some dwarf planets. There are a couple of one-third-inch Plutos out there, one up at Paine Field in Everett and the other in Des Moines. Ceres is on the University of Washington campus, fittingly enough near the Physics/Astronomy Building.

They’re already at work on figuring out the recently speculated upon Planet Nine, which is thought to have a highly irregular orbit. At its closest might be around Portland and at its furthest somewhere near Missoula, Montana. They’re not planning to make that trip to place a painting!

You can read more about the project on the Three Dragons Academy website and probably find a planet near you. Visit one or visit them all!

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One thought on “Find Uranus on Alki

  1. Phoenix S

    Thanks for noticing our work & art, and for the lovely overview, Greg!

    And MANY thanks are owed to the amazing Keith Enevoldsen for his inspiring and fun scale model solar system webpage at thinkzone.wlonk.com

    ( For what it’s worth, we might yet get Planet Nine out to Missoula (one way trip, though). We’ll keep you posted! )

    P

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