An Educational model of the Earth/Moon/Sun system. Not to scale. 


information and Instructions

 

Quick Guide:

Scene 1:

  • 1 - Main View
  • 2 - Sky View
  • 3 - Moon View

Scene 2:

  • 1 - Orbit View
  • 2 - Surface View
  • 3 - Moon Lander View
  • 4 - North Pole View

Detailed Guide

While not to scale (as this would produce computationally impossible numbers, incomprehensibly vast distances, and bodies smaller than a single pixel on this screen), this model uses time realistically, and you will find all of the bodies moving at their correct relative speeds.

The slider on the top controls universal time, with speeds that range from realtime:

This will result in painfully slow and realistic astronomical motion; if you left this running for a year, the earth would go around the sun once

This will result in painfully slow and realistic astronomical motion; if you left this running for a year, the earth would go around the sun once

All the way to 31535994/1:

That is, one year per second

That is, one year per second

Neither of these are particularly useful, that's why there's a wide range between, with a logarithmic curve to give higher precision in the lower numbers.

 

There are two scenes in the simulation.

 

The first scene is designed to assist in creating diagrams of the systems, and has three view modes.

Main View

Main View. Switch to it by pressing 1.

Main View. Switch to it by pressing 1.

The main viewpoint has sunlight coming from a fixed direction. This viewpoint will follow Earth as it orbits the sun, and is not controlled by the user. 

The pin can be moved with the arrow keys, and marks a point to view the sky from in the Sky View

Sky View

Sky View. Switch to it by pressing 2.

Sky View. Switch to it by pressing 2.

The Sky View allows you so see the entire sky from a designated point on Earth. You can still move the pin from the sky view, but it is often easier to do so from the top-down view.

moon VIEW

Moon view. Switch to it by pressing 3.

Moon view. Switch to it by pressing 3.

The Moon view shows what the moon looks like from any point on earth. This is useful for showing the phase of the moon without worrying about finding it in the sky view.

 

Switching Scenes!

Click the "switch" button in the lower right hand corner when you want to switch scenes (not viewpoints).

The second scene is more exploratory, and features 4 viewpoints, many of them more interactive.

Orbit VIEW

Orbit view. Switch to it by pressing 1.

Orbit view. Switch to it by pressing 1.

Orbit view allows you to orbit around the system by clicking and dragging while watching things move. Due to large planet sizes, there are unrealistically frequent solar and lunar eclipses which are fun to watch. Scroll to zoom in and out.

Ground VIEW

Surface View. Switch to it by pressing 2.

Surface View. Switch to it by pressing 2.

Some ugly trees and a less ugly sky. Click and drag to look around.

moon lander VIEW

Moon Lander View. Switch to it by pressing 3.

Moon Lander View. Switch to it by pressing 3.

See the Earth from a stationary viewpoint on the moon.'

North Pole VIEW

North Pole View. Switch to it by pressing 4

North Pole View. Switch to it by pressing 4

A view locked to Earth, looking down on its North pole. Check out what the seasons of the year do!