I would like to welcome everyone to the official opening of the Melbourne Solar System – a permanent one to one billion scale model of our actual Solar System.
It was back in 2005 that I first dreamed up this idea and it was in December of that year that my friend Ed Redman and I first held a temporary exhibition along the St Kilda foreshore. However, what has really made this now a permanent model, was the tremendous response from the public in 2005 to the temporary model, and The city of Port Phillip’s Council’s active response to the requests to make it a permanent feature along the foreshore of our bay.
I really hope that this model shows just how amazing our Solar System is and in turn just how amazing every point of light is in the night sky. For every point of light is a star at the centre of another solar system.
Through our most powerful telescopes we have peered into stellar wombs and seen stars being formed. We have been able to witness that when stars ignite and are born they naturally form a family of planets similar to ours. These new solar systems may too have planets, like our earth that support the most magical process of all – Life.
After touring this model I’m sure you will get a sense of just how incredibly small we are in the grand scheme of things. Our sun after all is just one star out of over 300 billion stars in our galaxy, and that our galaxy is just one, in over 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. The observable universe too, is also probably just a minuscule fraction of the universe as a whole.
WOW how SUBLIME & majestic is the Universe. Every galaxy, star, planet, person, atom are all inter-linked parts of the one same universe. We are the Universe.
So many have been involved in helping complete this project.
Cameron Robbins, who’s artistic genius in representing the forces of nature really brought into reality this awe inspiring model of the solar system. Thank you so much Cameron for working with me and for coming on board.
The City of Port Phillip who have been so enthusiastic from the beginning and really got behind the project to make it a reality. Thank you for your belief in me and your generous financial support.
I would also sincerely like to thank Tony Wheeler, not just for his financial support through the Planet Wheeler foundation, but also for his patience and advice which really surpassed my expectations, in refining and perfecting the informational plaques.
The Astronomical Society of Victoria were heavily involved in the project from the start. I would like to thank Barry Adcock and Arthur Coombs for their assistance, and especially Barry Clealand for his help, advice and support in putting together the informational plaques.
I also want to thank Richard Holt, the Urban Arts Officer of the City of Port Phillip Council and John Paxinos from Auspicious Arts for their assistance and drive in making things happen, and Designer Nic Lehman’s great effort with the design of the plaques, and Dr Tanya Hill from Scienceworks for all her invaluable advice which was most appreciated.
And lastly, my friend Ed Redman who helped me initiate the project from the beginning and build the temporary model of the solar system in 2005. It was quite a feat but we did it, even after losing the sun off the trailer whilst driving down to the foreshore.
Unfortunately Ed is on the other side of the planet and could not be here today.
There are further plans to extend the model and I am pleased to announce that I will be actively working with the City of Port Phillip Council in installing the nearest star to our Sun, Proxima Centuri which also will be on this one to one billion scale. This will make the Melbourne Solar System the largest Scientific artwork on the planet.