Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yes You Can -- Eli Menaker's Universe

"Even though the sky is accessible to everyone, few people look up to appreciate it. I believe I can change this..." ~Eli Menaker

With a deep love for astronomy and a great idea, Eli Menaker gave the people of Anchorage, Alaska a chance to see the sun all day long, every single day of the year. With the help of the Rotary Club, he designed the Anchorage Lightspeed Planet Walk. It was 2003, and he was a senior in high school.

It was a trip to the Carl Sagen Memorial Planet Walk in Ithica, New York, that planted the dream in his mind. Having organized an annual Astronomy Day event for several years, this was a way to share his passion in an even broader way.

According to the Planet Walk's website, "the Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk is a scale model of our solar system. Taking the walk, you experience the relative size of the planets and their distance from the Sun. The scale was chosen so that a leisurely walking pace mimics the speed of light. On this scale, each step equals the distance light travels in one second (300,000 kilometers or 186,000 miles).

"It should take you about 8 minutes to walk from the Sun station at 5th and G to the Earth station at 5th and K, just as it takes 8 minutes for a light beam to travel from the real Sun to the real Earth. Similarly, it takes you and a light beam 5 1/2 hours to reach Pluto at Kincaid Park."

Now, I've seen models of the solar system that are designed as mobiles to hang from the ceiling with different sized balls representing the planets. But even with these visuals I cannot fathom the distance between the planets or their size in comparison to the sun. I think my boys could visualize it, but I just could never get it to work for me.

But this -- yes, this would do the trick! 

Have you got a love for something that you want to share with others? Use Eli Menaker for a role model, and go for it. Think you can't? Yes You Can!

1 comment:

Eli Menaker said...

Wow. Thanks so much for writing on this. I truly hope the Planet Walk inspires other young people to stick with their ideas and find ways to complete them. I truly had a lot of help with this project and can't thank Anchorage Rotary enough for believing in and backing the Planet Walk. Thanks again - Eli Menaker