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See Long Now Orrery



A modern mechanical planetary system, part of a 10,000 year clock

This orrery was designed by Danny Hills and Alexander Rose of the Long Now Foundation, and installed in 2005. Made of a shiny silver colored nickel-copper alloy called monel, the eight foot tall machine shows the positions of the planets Mercury through Saturn, which are all of the planets visible to the human eye on Earth. It is designed to move twice a day, accurately sending the Earth round the sun, an orb made of yellow Mexican calcite, every 365 days, while Saturn will take 29.7 years.

Staff at the Long Now are more than happy to activate the orrery for visitors, in order to see the beauty of the mechanism in action.

Also on display in the museum are an early prototype of the chime system for the clock, and dozens of smaller models, prototypes, and a selection of books on related subjects.