Last Christmas my friends and I had a white elephant gift exchange, and I have to say, it was the best white elephant I've ever been a part of. Sure, people gave away joke gifts and stuff they didn't want anymore, but most of it was pretty covetable, like a giant stuffed fish or a Barack Obama lava lamp (which Matt ended up with). Not everything was great, though, because I'm pretty sure someone went home with a copy of Twilight.
I was quite pleased to have ended the night with this:
Right after bringing this lovely globe home I got the fantastic idea of sanding down the surface and painting it to look like Jupiter. Now, it's pretty common knowledge that my favorite non-habitable planet in our solar system is the mighty Jupiter. Its mass is greater than that of all the other planets in the solar system combined and it has 63 moons (now don't you feel cheated knowing that Earth only has one moon?), three of which are suitable for extraterrestrial microbial life! (Why are we not exploring these moons?!)
Being one of the world's best procrastinators, I finally got going on this project last night. To my surprise and delight, it turns out sanding to remove the map on the globe was unnecessary, as the map peeled right off after I picked at it a bit with a knife:
The newly naked globe bears its full glory:
As great as a light-up globe of Jupiter would be, I decided I will take things a step further by making an orrery of Jupiter and its four largest moons, the Galilean satellites: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. What's an orrery, you ask? Great question. An orrery is a model, usually of the solar system, that is used to display how the planets orbit the sun relative to their actual orbits. See the video below for an example (fast forward a bit to see it in action):
Great music, fitting for a demonstration of planetary revolution, right?
We had a pretty good brainstorming/experimenting sesh last night and we have a basic plan of how to make it work. The challenge will be finding the parts we need. Wish us luck!