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Human Orrery

This permanent installation guides two or more people in enacting the relative motion of the planets around the Sun—moving quickest in the orbit of Mercury and slowest in the orbit of Neptune. Through this enactment, you can experience why Venus and Mercury always appear near the Sun seen from Earth and Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune disappear and reappear in Earth’s sky on a longer-than-a-year time frame.


Inspired by the wood post solar calendars of the Mississippian culture that flourished for several centuries in North America, this installation would mark the important sunrise and sunset locations of the year (equinoxes and solstices) as well as the important moonrise and moonset locations of the 18.6-year lunar cycle (lunar standstills or lunistices).

Calendar Contemplation Circle

This ground installation would help visitors contemplate the connection of the Sun, Moon, and planets to our calendar—the names of the days of the week, the length of the month, and the seasons and length of the year.

Star Track Finder

These posts would help visitors find the regular circular arc paths in the sky that certain bright stars such as Sirius the Dog Star or Vega follow, pointing out the times of the year when the star disappears into the light of the Sun and then reappears, as viewed from our vantage point on Earth.

Pop-up Planetarium

On cloudy or even rainy days, this inflatable dark room with night sky projection forwards the observatory mission of connecting visitors with the night sky virtually and even permits this work to be mobile, taking this connection off-site into the community.