What is an orrery? Writing

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Increase your vocabulary and you will make your writing much more precise. That’s why I’m giving one word of the week. Today’s word: orrery…

When my kids were youngA father in our social environment decided to familiarize all of our young children with the concept of space and planets.

In these days (that was before Pluto was downgraded) This meant summing up nine children to represent each of the planets, plus a tenth for the sun. The father had calculated the size of each planet and its distance from the sun.

He gave each child an item Represent the size of their respective planets (from a marble to a volleyball, as I remember, although I may be wrong about the size). And he distributed them over a very large block (two cities x two cities). block-sized field). As far as I remember, there was another planet that was too far away for the distance to be fully accurate. But the kids got the idea. It was impressive.

Even if I didn’t know it at the timeIn a way, we have created a life Orrery. I came across this word in the excellent book The porpoise by Mark Haddon, who is also the author of The strange incident of the dog at night.

Here’s how Haddon used the term:

There is a Orrery on the central table, over which Mesomedes would have passed out.

The word was new to me and when I looked it up, I found that it was a mechanical model of the solar system, or just the sun, earth, and moon, that was used to represent their relative positions and movements. (See photo above in this post.)

The device was invented around 1704 by the English watchmaker George Graham (1673-1751) and constructed by the instrument maker John Rowley. Graham gave a copy to his patron, Charles Boyle (1674-1731), 4th Earl of Orrery (Cork) and named it in his honor.

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