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Want to explaind the Solar System to someone?
March 22, 2011 1:15 PM   Subscribe

A beautiful interactive model of our Solar System
posted by analogtom (20 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

It's a few centuries behind.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:21 PM on March 22, 2011

Tracing the planets in the Tychonian setting is fascinating.
posted by zarq at 1:25 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

agreed. But the traces starts to disappear just when it gets interesting.
posted by milestogo at 1:27 PM on March 22, 2011

also, why is the earth the same size as the sun? Overall though, this is really cool. thanks!
posted by milestogo at 1:27 PM on March 22, 2011

It's very pretty even if the relative sizes of things are baffling.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:30 PM on March 22, 2011

I like this, but the scale problem always bugs me when looking at solar system models. Is there no way to illustrate just how far it is between the planets? Or at least to allow the user to set the display scale?
posted by norm at 1:31 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Try Eyes on the Solar System.

Requires small plugin (Unity), but worth it
posted by lukemeister at 1:37 PM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]

The speed is also not to scale - mars' inner moon orbits many many times for each of ours, here it's about two.

Normally you lose sacrifice distance scale but keep relative size and orbital periods to scale. This seems to have absolutely nothing to scale.

But it's pretty. And that's not nothing :)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:37 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I want one of these. On my desk.
posted by AugieAugustus at 1:42 PM on March 22, 2011

I love the Tychonian option, but a Ptolemaic option would be even better. For a paper in university I figured out the mechanics of Ptolemy's epicycles and have always fantasized about building a simulation of it.
posted by fatbird at 1:51 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow, that Eyes on the Solar System site is fan-freakin-tastic. Unless, of course, you change to "Ride Along" mode on Voyager and move the time-slider all the way to the right and watch the solar system get further and further and further away, disappearing into the void... Excuse me, I'm kind of sad now.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:52 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

fatbird, I really wanted to see that too, with planet tracing turned on: God's Spirograph!
posted by kimota at 1:55 PM on March 22, 2011

I love the Tychonian option, but a Ptolemaic option would be even better.

Ptolemy actually points out in the Almagest that the so-called Tychonian system would look equivalent to the Ptolemaic system from the Earth. It's not much of a leap from there to realize that the Copernican system would look equivalent from the Earth as well, but that is not included in the Almagest. It's possible that he realized it but either didn't want to believe it or thought he would be ridiculed or worse.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 2:20 PM on March 22, 2011

Dennis Duke -- Ancient Planetary Model Animations and his Six Easy Lectures on the Almagest.
posted by psyche7 at 2:35 PM on March 22, 2011

I liked Eyes On The Solar System a lot, but I wish the navigation was a bit more intuitive. I hate that I have to go through a training session to do anything worthwhile these days.

(I would also like to sign up for Google Earth and ARCGIS training sessions sometime.)
posted by norm at 3:39 PM on March 22, 2011

Celestia does everything every applet mentioned here does and much much more. Plus it is FLOSS.
posted by DU at 6:02 PM on March 22, 2011

I'll join the chorus of groans on the scale problems. I really like the Earth as a Peppercorn model for showing kids how freaking enormous the solar system is. The amazing thing about space is not how many planets and stars are jam-packed nearby, it is the insane emptiness and distance between objects.
posted by benzenedream at 10:36 PM on March 22, 2011

The Solar System Scale Model is also a very nice way to get a perspective on the size of the solar system.

(Hint: scroll to the right. Bonus points if you find anything besides the Sun and Pluto without cheating.)
posted by mahershalal at 2:44 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I left it running at high speed and things started to bang into each other.

Is that bad?
posted by bwg at 4:04 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Anyone else count out the planets using the phrase 'Many Very Energetic Monkeys Jump Stupidly Over Nefarious Plants', say, "Hey, I think they're missing a planet," and then feel old?
So incredibly old?

posted by secretdark at 4:12 PM on March 23, 2011

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