Galaxy Walk

Complementing two earlier astronomical walks at the Effelsberg radio telescope, labelled Planetary Walk and Milky Way Walk, we have built a third walk, called  Galaxy Walk in order to extend the cosmic distance scale to the edge of the Universe. The Galaxy Walk comprises a total of 14 stations leading from our Milky Way Galaxy along its neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy (M 31), to extremely distant objects like the galaxy SDSS J1148+5251. Its emission takes almost 13 billion years before reaching our telescopes. The Galaxy Walk starts east of the 100 m radio telescope in the forest and leads to a nearby hut (“Martinshütte”) which is reached after 2.6 km distance including a steep climb through the forest.   

Martinshütte of the Kirchsahr municipality, the final destination of the Galaxy Walk.

Martinshütte of the Kirchsahr municipality, the final destination of the Galaxy Walk.

The Milky Way Walk was built as a cooperative project between the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and the Freundeskreis Sahrbachtal. The logo for the Milky Way Walk is a blue telescope on white background:

The information presented on the 14 stations of the Galaxy Walk is compiled in the following.

The Galaxy Walk at the Effelsberg Radio Observatory runs from the 100 m radio telescope to the Martinshütte, a small hut belonging to the nearby Kirchsahr municipality. The walk is scaled 1 : 5 x 1022 (1 : 50 sextillions) meaning 5 billion light years per kilometre or a million light years per 20 centimetres. Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is only at a distance of 50 centimetres from its large neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy, corresponding to a real distance of 2.5 million light years.

On a total length of about 2.6 kilometres (exactly 2570 metres) there are 14 stations describing a journey from our position in the Milky Way to sources at the edge of the known universe, their radiation reaching us over a light travel time of more than 13 billion years.

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