Alfred Piff Solar / Planetary Walk

Welcome to our Solar / Planetary Walk which has been established in memorial to Alfred Piff, a longtime member of MBG and supporter of education for all. As you travel along the walk, you will experience the scale model of our solar neighborhood. Our walk is approximately .79 miles, and each planet is marked by Planetary Art Posts created by Nancy Thomas. Scanning the QR at each post will give access to information about each planet. Enjoy your walk!


The Sun's astronomical symbol

Lots of very hot gas (do not touch!). Our Sun is an average star, like thousands you see in the night sky. It is a nuclear-fusion engine that turns hydrogen into helium, giving off energy in the process. Life on Earth would be impossible without the light we receive from the Sun, which is as bright as 4 trillion trillion light bulbs. The solar activity cycle includes variations in the number of sunspots, their latitude on the Sun and their magnetic orientations, and is about 22 years long. The Sun’s outermost gas boils off as the gusty solar wind which affects comets, spacecraft and the Earth. The Sun’s surface gravity is 28 g’s, so on the Sun you would weigh 28 times as much as you weigh on Earth.

DIAMETER: 864,000 miles
TEMPERATURE: 10,000˚F on surface; the corona is 2,000,000˚F
ROTATION: 30 days
REVOLUTION AROUND THE GALAXY: about 225 million years
STAR TYPE: currently a G-class yellow dwarf in mid-life.

Some Fun Facts - Did you know?

You have to be in exactly the right place at the right time to see a solar eclipse (the red lines on our map), but it’s worth the effort.  North American eclipses: August 21, 2017 and April 8, 2024.

The Sun’s corona is visible only during a total solar eclipse, which occurs when the Moon lines up between the Sun and the Earth. This one was on Dec. 4, 2002.

Sunspots are magnetic storms on the Sun’s surface where flares are formed. Here a superimposed picture of the Earth shows just how big sunspots can be. 

The Alfred Piff Family wishes to make the Solar / Planetary Walk available to all who wish to experience it, regardless of membership status. Through their funding support we are able to offer free admission to nonmembers so they can enjoy taking the walk. Simply click the link below to request a time to visit during regular hours when MBG is open to the public.