Thursday, June 23, 2011

science is happening!

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:

Who doesn't love a good globe? Thanks, Angie.

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:

Map scraps. Kinda rhymes.

The newly naked globe bears its full glory:

Reminds me a bit of the Parachutes album cover. It'd be great to have that version of Coldplay back.

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?

So our orrery (try saying that outloud. I say "our" because Fatcat (né David) will be joining me in its construction) will consist of a slowly rotating Jupiter and four revolving moons.

For inspiration/experimentation it made sense to take apart my out-of-service record player. A broken box fan suffered the same fate.

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!


  1. I'm wishing you so much luck right now, and yes, that music was awesome and I imagined in playing in the background while Fatcat was hard at work

  2. I love this idea. I want to see it when complete! Let me know if you need any help

  3. Had no idea it could be that easy. Sick. Be sure to post the finished product.