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Giant Solar System Model

We were commissioned to create a very large Solar System model consisting of all of the known 9 planets. The new 10th planet was not considered for this traditional model although we did have discussions about creating it as well to be complete. The client was outfitting a Science Laboratory in Huntsville, Alabama and our planets were going to be the showpiece.

As with any project, compromises had to be made. In this case we made all the rocky planets between 18"- 30" in diameter.Jupiter was 4' across as was Saturn overall. Although this is not to scale, the vastly differing sizes of a scale model precluded it from having the desired impact. Secondary material was posted illustrating TRUE scale sizes of the planets relative to each other on the science floor below along the walls so this was a reasonable compromise in our view.

The project went very well, and the planets were well received. Each planet was painted with airbrush and hand brush to create a work of art, yet maintain a level of accuracy. For each planet there are details that match known details of the real places. Our kudos to master artist and key modelmaker Ed Miarecki for his talent on this project!

The Valles Marineris Region as rendered on Planet Mars in 1/9,000,000 scale or... 30" diameter!

Central America Region of Earth with Solar reflection in Ocean. The Oceans were created with a translucent Blue that allowed for very high specular highlight while landmasses retain their dull non-reflective look. This added a very three dimensional look to Earth. Earth and all the planets in fact were created upside down because they were going to be ceiling mounted by the posts sticking out of their North Polar regions. Uranus is the exception of course since it lies on its side in its orbit...

Jupiter was created using tens of layers of color. Browns mixed in with reds and tans and even blues, created a very deep looking atmosphere for this 4' diameter scale model planet.

This closeup shows a better view of the complexity of the Jovian atmosphere. Subtle layering of color added depth and interest to the model.

Battered Mercury looks pockmarked in this stylized view. The craters are actual 3D craters, with slopes and central peaks. This captures lighting in a very dramatic way.

Neptune and its dark spot show vividly in this model, rendered with 25 different shades of blue and green.

 

Picture Cell

Nearly complete Installation in Huntsville. Saturn is not visible in this shot but is shown in the next. Uranus and Venus not profiled on this page are just below center left [bluish planet] and just showing from behind Jupiter respectively.

Another View showing part of the installation. Sorry for the fuzzy images! Saturn is visible on the right.

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