New WA attraction takes visitors on a walk through the solar system

Two exciting free attractions have been launched by The University of Western Australia and the Gravity Discovery Centre in Gingin to make learning about astronomy and the theories of Einstein come alive.

A one kilometre self-guided solar system walk through the beautiful bushland of Gingin, with sculptures replicating our solar system has been opened on the Yeal Nature Reserve next to the Gravity Discovery Centre.

UWA engineering student Wenjing Zheng created and installed sculptures of planets, asteroids, moons on the walk which are all to scale. She also created the signage and a website that accompanies them.

Ms Zheng said working on the project was a great opportunity to help create a free public asset that could be enjoyed by the people of Western Australia.

“It’s a nice pleasant walk where people can take in the pristine banksia woodland and at the same time learn about the wonders of our solar system,” Ms Zheng said. “It’s great to be able to make something that really engages with people and helps them learn about something so important and so interesting.”

The project was undertaken as a John and Robin De Laeter student scholarship of the Gravity Discovery Centre Foundation and was made possible by contributions from 12 Perth companies.

In addition to the solar system walk, UWA is celebrating the first anniversary of the detection of gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars which showed how gold is formed, and measured the speed of gravity. The celebratory event How to Make Gold, is part of National Science Week at the Gravity Discovery Centre. How to make Gold is a series of weekend of activities on 18 – 19 August put on by UWA students and researchers.

How to make Gold includes tours of telescopes and lasers, demonstrations of gravity wave research and activities where people can learn about what led to the detection of gravitational waves and the involvement of UWA scientists. People can also learn about Einstein’s theories around space and light.

The discovery of gravitational waves remains one of the most significant discoveries, confirming a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity which opens an unprecedented new window to the cosmos.

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