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Visualising Ptolemy's universe
Stuart Malin's Ptolemaic Orrery
Image Credit: Stuart Malin

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Visualising Ptolemy's universe

Details of the mechanism

Image Credit: Stuart Malin

The model of a universe with the Earth at its centre successfully described astronomical observations in antiquity. See how it worked with an orrery, the only one built using the geocentric model.

Why make an orrery based on out-moded ideas about the solar system? For Stuart Malin, that question has a two-fold answer. One was to represent what was for more than 1400 years a successful model of the universe, the other to have the pleasure of crafting a representation of how the skies would appear from Earth, with the orbits of the planets to scale. Most orreries show a view of the solar system from outside, giving the observer an overview of planetary motion. Malin's beautiful instrument shows a view of the skies and the planets' movements across it as if looking south from the northern hemisphere. 

Stuart's article is in the February 2017 issue of A&G.Read more at A&G Online.

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