The Grounded Sun is an art piece, called in Croatian “Prizemljeno sunce”, created by the famous Croatian modern artist and sculptor Ivan Kožarić. It is a very basic sculpture, a bronze sphere of around 2 meters in diameter. It was first displayed in 1971 in the foyer of the Croatian National Theatre building in Zagreb, and has since changed its location several times, until in 1994 it found its almost perfect location: in Bogovićeva Street, in the pedestrian zone in the centre of Zagreb.
In 2004, to mark the 10th anniversary of the final placement of Kožarić’s sculpture in the centre of Zagreb, lesser known artist Davor Preis decided to create an art installation, including the model of the entire Solar system in a manner that was at the same time scientific and mysterious.
It was scientific because the model he created is faithful to the size of Kožarić’s sun, and to the actual ratios of the Solar system. Kožarić’s sun dictated the scale to be used for the size of the spheres representing the planets, and their exact distances from the Sun, and Preis has used the scale of 1:680000000 very precisely. So, Mercury is 75 meters from Kožarić’s Sun, while the furthest Pluto is almost 8 kilometres away (if you don’t believe us, do the calculations and you’ll see it’s all to scale)
The mysterious portion is that his installation, actually called Nine Views was created and displayed without any media attention and without even disclosing to the public where the planets were placed. So, after the panels with the planets were already placed on their carefully chosen locations, it took quite a lot of searching, researching and calculations (mostly done by the physics students at Zagreb University) to discover exactly where each of the nine planets are.
Today we know where they are. It’s just that, you know what NASA did: they determined that Pluto is not a planet anymore! So, someone, and it was never revealed if it was the author of the installation or someone else, removed the little sphere representing Pluto from its panel in Podsused. A bit sad, but the panel is in fact still standing.
The locations of all planets are as follows: Mercury is at number 3 Margaretska Street, Venus at 3 Ban Josip Jelačić Square, Earth at 9 Varšavska Street, and Mars at 21 Tkalčićeva Street. The “outer” planets are, of course, a bit further away from the centre, Jupiter at 71 Voćarska Street, Saturn at 1 Račićeva Street, Uranus at a garage near 9 Siget, Neptune at Kozari Put 48 and poor Pluto’s plate is still standing at the underpass on the Aleja Bolonje.
And here’s the map that will help you find all of the Zagreb’s grounded planets for yourself (believe it or not, you can see most of the plates and spheres on the Google Street View as well!):