Maine Solar System Model – Houlton, Maine - Atlas Obscura

Maine Solar System Model

Houlton, Maine

This massive solar system model is sprawled out across Maine's suburban wilderness. 


Built by the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the space enthusiasts of Aroostook County, the Maine Solar System Model covers the vast expanses of space in just 40 miles of Earth.

A true community construction project, the planetary model of our solar system was created by local high school and technical school students under the university’s direction to bring attention to their area. At 1:93,000,000 scale, the model uses sculpted and painted planets on tall poles to map our planetary neighbors.

Beginning with the sun, represented as a giant yellow ring cutting right through the Northern Maine Museum of Science, the model branches out across the rural highways and byways of the state. Each planet is then represented with a scale model installed in representative distances.

Mercury rests high above a public garden, Venus sits just outside of a motor inn, while Earth and its jawbreaker-sized moon is located on the grounds of a car dealership. Moving farther out, Mars greets people as they enter the Presque Isle University Grounds, and 5.3 miles from the model sun, Jupiter’s bulk sits in a roadside field, surrounded by its many moons. Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are scattered further down the roadside, and finally the minuscule Pluto is mounted inside an information center off of Interstate 95.


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