With all the talk Stateside about the total solar eclipse yesterday, Paddy and Plunkett just had to get a slice of the astronomical action for themselves! So they very kindly sent me on some pictures of themselves gadding around in this incredible and unearthly place – welcome to the Crawick Multiverse!
This unique attraction is really a large-scale art installation. Work here started in 2012, and the park opened in 2015. But the best part is that this project has given new life to an area that had been made unfarmable (and also just plain ugly) by years of open-cast coal mining. You wouldn’t think that to look at it now, would you?
The hills are probably the most striking feature in the park, and I’m sure they can be seen for miles around! These 20 metre tall earth mounds represent the spiral galaxies of Andromeda and our own galactic home, the Milky Way. Did you know that while most of the other 100 billion-odd galaxies in the universe are moving away from us, Andromeda is actually heading right in our direction? The two galaxies are expected to meet in 4 billion years’ time, and this is an interpretation of what will happen next – they’ll whirl around together, stripping lines of stars and planets from each other in a sort of crazy spinning dance. I’m pretty glad I won’t be around to see THAT!
Of course, the boys were just dying to get in to have a closer look at everything… And despite the huge scale of the place, a few helpful “lifts” from passers by (whether they knew it or not) allowed them to mostly hop from place to place in style! First port of call – the Multiverse installation! Well, almost…
“Come on, Plunkett! We’re nearly there! It’s just up here on the hill behind me!”
The “Multiverse” is made of blocks of back and white layered mudstone, arranged in a corkscrew shape (which might be tricky to make out from this angle). It represents all the possible universes, and features carvings showing their different fates.
Well, apparently it does. Unfortunately, Plunkett ran out of puff halfway up the hill, and Paddy got distracted by the idea of the Omphalos, down at the bottom of the slope.
“Paddy, are you sure about this? Omphalos stones mark the mythical ‘navel of the world’… Who knows WHAT’S potentially lurking in there?”
“Only one way to find out, Plunkett!”
Uh-oh! It’s Plunkett’s turn to get distracted! He’s found some thought-provoking poetry to look at…
…And check this out – a whole galaxy trapped in a rock!
Fortunately, it didn’t take Paddy too long to figure out that he was small enough to squeeze back out through those bars, so the boys were able to meet up again and stroll down the impressive North-South Line, which neatly divides the Multiverse site down the middle.
As well as making this walkway extra striking, the boulders lining the path protect walkers from the elements, and (most importantly) provide a playground for mischievous Beasties!
“Plunkett, I think there’s one more place we need to go…”
“Don’t worry, it’ll TOTALLY be worth it!”
“Come on Plunkett, you can do it!”
“Not bad, Paddy. Not bad at all!
“Yup. And check it out – this is how the Milky Way looks from Andromeda! You don’t see that every day!”
This pair of monster space cadets will be back in a couple of weeks – unless they decide to spend a little more time exploring the Multiverse!
And what about you? How’s your week been? Did any of you get to see the eclipse? Let us know in the comments!