In the quest to accurately predict the motion of planets, humans have long sought to create models that can illustrate their paths through the heavens. A combination of watchmakers and astronomers historically collaborated to build orreries, mechanical devices that depicted the positions and movements of planets using intricate gear systems. However, [Illusionmanager] has taken a different approach, constructing a stunning ceiling-mounted model of our Solar System without any gears.
The mechanism behind this Solar System model is deceptively simple. All planets, except for Mercury, are free to move along their orbit’s axis. Mercury, on the other hand, is controlled by a hidden motor within the Sun, which propels it along its orbit. Once Mercury completes a full revolution, a pin attached to its arm pushes Venus forward, and so on, until Neptune is positioned correctly based on NASA’s data. When the cycle is complete, the motion is reversed to position Uranus.
Due to the length of time it takes to cycle through the entire Solar System, the planets’ positions are updated only once a day at midnight. An ESP32, also concealed within the Sun, connects to the internet to retrieve the most up-to-date positions and drives the motor accordingly. The planet models, obtained from a museum shop, hang from thin aluminum tubes attached to wooden mounts created using a desktop CNC machine.
[Illusionmanager] has meticulously documented the process of building a miniature version of this mechanism on an Instructables page, a notable update to a previous version. The design of this model stands in striking contrast to traditional orreries, as it showcases a simplicity that is truly remarkable.
Overall, [Illusionmanager]’s ceiling-mounted Solar System model demonstrates a novel approach to representing the motions of planets. With its elegant design and reliance on minimalistic components, it adds a touch of beauty and wonder to any space it occupies.
– [Illusionmanager] (Instructables username)
– Orrery: a mechanical device that depicts the positions and movements of planets.
– ESP32: a powerful microcontroller commonly used in Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
– NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United States’ space agency.