24 February 2011

The Solar System

Before the internet, if you wanted to understand the relative motions of the various celestial bodies in the solar system you would have used an astrolabe. A fiendishly clever but also complicated mechanical device that modelled the potistion of the various bodies at different times. They were very difficult to use.

Now its all a whole lot easier with the advent of flash tools such as this one here.

(Click on the image or the link above to see it working)

The detail is fantatsic, if you watch the Earth (third rock from the Sun) carefully you can actually see the six month polar night/day caused of the Earth's tilt.

And just in case, like me you can't remember the order of the planets, here is a nice image from Wikipedia to help.

1 comment:

John said...

The scale of the bodies is obviously not correct (since the moon does not crash into mars perdiocially) and I was thinking of a way to express that when Liam posted this on FB http://www.solar.york.ac.uk/
- a scale model of the solar system that is 6km long. The Earth is 2cm and Jupiter, the biggest planet is 25 cm