Solar System Project 1

Inspired by several email conversations with IAAA members, this is my interpretation of the classic size/scale diagram of our Solar System.

The upper and lower thirds illustrate the physical sizes of our planets, from Mercury to Neptune, and including Pluto and Charon. The outline of our Sun is on the left side as a size reference.

The middle portion illustrates the distances between the planets. Again, the sun is the reference. Here sizes are only approximate, but relative distances are to scale.

Principal moons of all planets are also shown to size scale, not distance.

The bottom right has a locator map of our approximate location within the Milky Way Galaxy.

The big green button activates a Sonification. The sound of a grand piano represents the planets. The bigger the planet, the lower the pitch. The principal moons are represented by a String Synth. The background drone is a tenor sax, dropped an octave. This sound is generated from a brightness cross-section of our Sun.

The substrate is MDF backed by plywood. Multiple layers of epoxy colour and protect the piece. Colours are my interpretation based on several NASA images. The frame is Spalted Maple, and includes the electronics for the Sonification.

Published by

Joseph Federer

Combining a lifelong fascination with lighting, moving art, and woodworking, photo-kinetic and thermo-kinetic sculptures provide an outlet for innovative combinations of art, machinery, electronics, and fun!

Photo-kinetic art is that which combines sculptural elements based on reality, usually from NASA sources, with LED lighting representing speculative possibilities of those locations. These may be based on fiction, natural phenomena, or flights of fancy. Some sculptures are static, but may incorporate other features such as Lithophanes or being touch-friendly.

Thermo-kinetic sculptures are those which have moving components responding to environmental inputs. Some are activated by temperature or humidity changes directly affecting parameters of sculptural components. Others may incorporate electronics to magnify natural effects.

With over 15 years’ experience making fine violins, the necessary attention to detail contributes to the quality of work in all my artistic and sculptural works. In addition, experience building a large custom home, a dedicated wood-working shop, and various other structures, ensures that my sculptures, particularly the thermo-kinetic ones, are structurally sound.

The core principals of my work are: to use an appropriate mix of natural and synthetic materials and processes to illustrate an idea or principal; to use science and space-related source materials; and to explore ideas which may be considered unconventional. In the immortal words of Calvin and Hobbes, “Let’s go exploring!”

This artwork is copyright © Joseph Federer. All rights reserved.