Saturday, May 16, 2009

Galileo Gravitator with four different floating planets

Galileo Gravitator with four different floating planets
This is an attractive magnetic planet levitation device. Well...model planets, anyway. You get the idea.

From the product description
This unique, eye-catching model depicts celestial gravitation and comes complete with four spheres, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and the Moon. Just place the planet of your choice directly below the gravitational source and watch it float and spin in mid-air. The Gravitator glows beautifully in the dark, creating a radiant nighttime conversation piece or a handsome nightlight, while the Antique Gold frame will embellish any desk, table or bookcase.

Here's a link to the Galileo Gravitator with four floating planets

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Beautiful hand-cranked Wooden Orrery

Beautiful hand-cranked Wooden Orrery by Dave Goodchild
Dave Goodchild of Norfolk, England has been making automata for well over 10 years. Most recently, he has chosen to focus his considerable talent on the designing and making of orreries -- mechanical models of the solar system. What is particularly remarkable is that he uses wood as the main material.

The artist says he is about to embark on a new 9-planet orrery which will he will blog as it is built. Take a look at the video below to see some of his handiwork in motion.
See more pictures and videos of Dave Goodchild's Orreries at

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Celestial Mechanical Calendar and Orrery

While I have admired Clayton Boyer's wooden clock designs for a long time, this project places him firmly in my pantheon of heroes. This wooden machine of his design keeps track of everything -- including the retrograde motion of planets and how many days are in a given month! Ingenius -- there is no other word for it.

From his web site:
The Celestial Mechanical Calendar shows the day of the week, day of the month and the month. In addition, she indicates the Zodiac Sun Sign and New Moon Ascension sign, has a MoonPhase Ball that indicates a nearly exact reflection of what the actual moon is doing in the night sky. She also has a Full Moon Ascension Window, and an Orrery showing the synodic rotations of the three closest planets, Mercury, Venus and Mars and indicates when they go into retrograde. The Celestial Mechanical Calendar also knows if the month has 28, 30 or 31 days and advances herself automatically.

Check out all the details or -- if your are feeling ambitious -- order the plans to make the Celestial Mechanical Calendar and Orrery.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Astrolabium Clock - Time, Earth, Sun and Moon

Astrolabium Clock
Here is an impressive reproduction of the an 18th-century wonder known as the "heaven machine" built by the clock-maker Philipp Matthaus Hahn -- creator of the first mechanical calculator.

The top of the clock features a model of the earth, which both rotates around its own axis and revolves around a sun made of brass. A gear train allows the moon to rotate the earth -- always presenting the same face to earth-bound observers. (I know! Think about it.) While it might not be to scale, the various revolutions are in accord with real time.

Among the exotic materials in this astrolabium are cherry wood, crystal, abalone, green agate, jade, and mother of pearl. I'll take two, please.

Here is a link for more information about The Astrolabium Clock.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Beautiful Hand-Cranked Orrery

Take a look at this beautifully made orrery by artist Eugene Sargent.

Here is Eugene Sargent's web site. [via MAKE]

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