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[escepticos] Sagan honored with his own solar system
Sagan honored with his own solar system
November 9, 1997
Web posted at: 11:19 a.m. EST (1619 GMT)
ITHACA, New York (AP) -- In Carl
Sagan's solar system, it takes just 21 steps
to get from the sun to Mercury, 47 steps to
Earth. Pluto is a 10-minute walk away.
At a normal stride, you would be moving
about four times the speed of light --
relatively speaking -- and you would have
to walk half way around the world to reach
the nearest star.
In honor of the man who brought the marvels of the heavens to
millions who watched his TV series "Cosmos," a scale model of
the solar system was unveiled Saturday, the eve of his birthday.
The model stretches more than three-quarters of a mile through
downtown Ithaca, where the late astronomer and physicist lived
and taught at Cornell University.
Six-foot-high stone obelisks stand over a 10-block area to denote
the sun and nine planets -- accurately spaced on a scale of one to
"(Sagan) often conjured models of the cosmos. He often worked
to help us come to know how big things are beyond our fragile
sphere," said Bill Nye, a former student of Sagan's who hosts the
popular children's science series "The Science Guy" on public
"He changed us in the way we think," Nye told more than 800
people gathered to dedicate the Carl Sagan Planet Walk.
"I know Carl would love this," said Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow
and longtime collaborator. "By walking through it, we can bring
ourselves to face our true circumstances in the universe, that we
are part of the fabric of nature, not the center."
Ithaca artist Erin Caruth designed the monument, drawing
inspiration from stone celestial monuments of earlier civilizations
such as Stonehenge.
Each obelisk carries color spacecraft images of the planet it
represents on porcelain enamel signs, descriptions of the planet's
unique features and a model that shows the planet's size compared
to the sun. The sun and Pluto are blue-pearl granite; the rest are
Sagan, who taught at Cornell for 30 years, died December 20 at
age 62 from complications of a bone marrow disease.
He was probably best known for his acclaimed 13-part PBS
series "Cosmos," co-written with Druyan, which retraced 15 billion
years of cosmic evolution. The series has been seen by more than
500 million people in 60 countries.
A NASA adviser, Sagan won the Pulitzer Prize for general
nonfiction in 1978 for "The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the
Evolution of Human Intelligence."
His 1985 best-selling novel, "Contact," was made into a movie this
EDUARDO ZOTES SARMIENTO
SDAC Sociedad para el Desarrollo de la Actitud Cientifica
SDAC WebSite -- http://sdac.home.ml.org/
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