Paying Homage to Pluto at Alton Baker Park in Eugene, Oregon
In 1997, Jack Van Dusen planted the final steel marker in his 1:1,000,000,000 scale-model solar system, which he'd built with his son in Alton Baker Park. Though the nine metal planets seem battered (and in Pluto's case, outdated), the Van Dusens' model is still cool-with-a-capital-C. The Sun's easy; that's the metal sphere, four and a half feet in diameter, by the pedestrian bridge. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars—again, scaled one to one-billionth in distance and size—are relatively adjacent within Alton Baker Park. Work your way north along the Willamette to Jupiter, half a mile from the Sun. Then Saturn, as far from Jupiter as Jupiter is from the Sun. Uranus, a mile from that; Neptune, a mile from that. You'll find Pluto 3.7 lonesome miles from Sol, just north of Goodpasture Island, and all of two millimeters in diameter. To honor of the dwarf planet's declassification in 2006, lay a flower at its marker. Ninth planet or prototype plutoid trans-Neptunian object, Pluto will always have our hearts.