HomeFeel-Good/Events4 Mile Project: Planets on Route 322 between Rockton, Clearfield4 Mile Project: Planets on Route 322 between Rockton, ClearfieldThu, August 12, 2021 by wcednewsSHARE NOW Rockton, PA – If you travel on Route 322 from Rockton into Clearfield, you’ve probably been wondering what’s up with the signs stuck along the median, indicating the planets in our solar system.The sun starts at the intersection of Rockton Mountain Highway and Route 322 and ends all the way at the bottom of the mountain nearly to Clearfield with Pluto.Mystery solved.Sue Shaffner, who some might know as the recently retired first grade teacher, said she had a smaller version of the planet project on her own acreage first and decided that she wanted to share it with the world.It’s not a permanent fixture… she plans on taking it down in September.Sue says she wanted to give people a little surprise, something that they could smile about and learn from while they drove by.It certainly made us smile!Listen to the full interview with Sue Shaffner.Connect FM · Sue Shaffner – Planets On Route 322Post from Sue Shaffner’s Facebook page, describing the project:A Four Mile ProjectOver a year ago, I found a fascinating site for modeling our solar system that calculated the scale/sizes and distances of the planets based on the size of the sun. https://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/Last summer I made a model across our acreage based on a five-inch sun at the corner of the house. The inner planets were on bricks in the yard, the stone wall was the asteroid belt, and the outer planets stretched from the orchard out through the field. Pluto, deprived of its planet status, grinned from the Kuiper Belt near the property line. Lucy learned the order of the outer planets by flying over them on the four wheeler— fun! The system was also useful for giving precise directions: “I’ll be picking huckleberries near Neptune.”As our friend Kevin says, though, Sic semper optimus! Bigger is always better! What about a five FOOT sun!?! Why five feet? It was the perfect size to have the solar system stretch along route 322 from the top of Rockton Mountain to the edge of Clearfield in the Susquehanna Valley four miles away. My friend Paula donated her old election signs and I spray painted them black, then painted the planets to scale. Well, almost. It was hard to paint Mercury with only a 0.2 inch diameter.Last month, our visiting grandgirls helped spray paint the sun, and last week I put the system up. It was not as easy as I thought. Signs are not easily pounded into the median’s gravel. Also, I hadn’t learned how to transfer decimal GPS coordinates from Google Maps; instead I used the visual measurement system on Google Earth— you may come across the remains of exploded brain cells around Jupiter. And I hadn’t realized quite how steep and rocky the downhill median is around Saturn. Thankfully, only two vehicles glimpsed me sliding down the rockface, ax in hand, and neither of them called the police. Yes, I could have placed the sign more easily on the return trip up the mountain, but my OCD required me to install them in order.For those people (like me, ironically) who aren’t thrilled with roadside signs, you may feel better knowing that this is a temporary science/art project. I plan to take it down in mid-September if it lasts that long.Until then, live long and prosper.SuePS. And now, a shameless plug— For more learning activities, visit Overallschool.com or Overall School on Facebook. Thanks!