Fascinating Animated GIFs of a Mechanical Model of the Solar System

mechanical solar system

Remember what fun it was to make solar system models out of styrofoam balls in third grade science class? Ken Condal does, and he’s taken that fun to another level with his beautiful orrery (aka or a mechanical model of the solar system).

It took Condal 10 months to take this sculpture from idea to finished product. The model shows the first six planets, as well as a clear center orb which represents the sun. The planets in the model are not to scale, but the rotation timing of the planets is accurate, and can be tracked by the markings on the large blue gear which has engravings of the months of the year to mark the positions.

months on orrery

The model is powered by a wind-up lever located at its base, driving 30 gears. According Ken’s website, one crank of the lever moves the model in an increment of 14 days.

orrery by Ken Condal

The planets, Earth’s moon and the Sun are constructed from wood and acrylic. The details are stunning, down to the rings that surround Saturn.

rotating orrery

The following video documents the process of building the orrery. It was a painstaking process, but the end result was well worth it.

via My Modern Met

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