The ancient Greek astronomer and mathematician, Aristarchus of Samos, was the first person to present a model of the solar system. In his demonstration, he placed the sun, which he called as the “central fire”, at the center of the known universe and depicted the earth and other planets as revolving around the sun.
Today, we have seen many different versions of the planets revolving around the sun but all of these images suffer from one fundamental error: none of these have ever really been drawn or pictured to scale.
A group of friends embarked on a trip to dried-up Black Rock Desert in Nevada to build what is believed to be the first realistic scale model of the solar system.
Filmmakers Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh needed 7 miles of empty space on the sandy lakebed to create a perfect scale model. Earth comes out only as big as a marble and the sun is 5 feet in diameter. It takes 36 hours for the group to measure the planets’s distances, trace the orbits and set up the cameras on top of a nearby mountain.
When the planet models are set up, the group drives around each of the planet’s orbit at night. The result is a splendid time-lapse video showing the planets’ orbit in motion around the tiny lighted sun.