This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, when man first set foot upon another world. As Commander Neil Armstrong famously said, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. We have therefore chosen this event as the theme for this year’s village fete.
Otford is very fortunate to house the world’s largest scale model of the Solar System that is designed to show the exact position of the planets orbiting the sun as they were configured at the dawn of the new millennium. It is made durable materials in the hope that it will last for the next thousand years when astronomers will be able to work out, to within half-an-hour, the exact date the model celebrates.
The sun and planets are positioned on plinths, with metal tops on which each planet is represented. The Sun is a 12-inch dome, whereas the Earth is a pea-size metal semi-circle. The home planets cluster around the Sun on the village recreation ground, with the outer planets dotted further afield as they span out in various directions across the village and surrounding countryside.
The scale of the Otford Solar System is 1:4,595,700,000. A leisurely walk, at about twenty times the speed of light, to visit every planet in order of its proximity to the Sun takes about an hour-and-a-half.