The Kopernikus Orrery – our solar system in Unity

The Kopernikus Orrery - our solar system in Unity

Humanity has presumably gazed at the stars long before the invention of speech and the concept of numbers…

But it took until the middle of the last millennia till we really understood our own place within the cosmic clockwork.

Checkout the Kopernikus Planetarium!


In 1704, George Graham and Thomas Tompion build a mechanical, heliocentric illustration of the solar system – a copy was made for the Earl of Orrery – hence the name “Orrery“.

Recently my fellow worker Philipp Althoff introduced me to those fascinating devices and we decided to build one.


As orrerys naturally show a scaled version of the solar system, high precision is vital for the device will quickly start to become inaccurate.

Philipp did an outstanding job measuring, modeling and texturing a model that also is completely parametric, so we could freely scale its polygon count for use in Unity 3D.

Klaus Hünig from Astromedia.de was so kind to support us with plans and data of his “Kopernikus-Planetarium“, a beautiful orrery construction kit.

While I did my best to research and calculate the exact orbits, directions and pivots, Mr. Hünig pointed out my errors and helped to refine the model.

Conclusion

The result is a 5MB heavy, animated Unity 3D version of the Kopernikus orrery by Astromedia.de.
Orbits and scales are accurate, the time scale able.


Finally we also produced a screensaver installer (WIN) and Philipp did the finishing touch on the browser version by composing the celestial background music.

Hope you find it relaxing.

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