Kepler's Platonic Solids Model of the Solar System

by joabaldwin
  • White

    White nylon plastic with a matte finish and slight grainy feel.

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An early cosmological model of our solar system, in full 3d-printed detail. From Kepler's book "Mysterium Cosmographicum", 1596. Kepler thought that the planets orbited the Earth, each within an orbit set on a regular polyhedron. He was mightily wrong, but his design is iconic and inspiring.

All regular polyhedra are represented, in this order from the inside out: octahedron, icosahedron, dodecahedron, tetrahedron, cube. I also included the text from the page of Kepler's book, "Tabvla III Orbivm Planetarvm" and "Johannes Kepler" on the opposite side of the base.

Try coloring it! The material is porous and you can submerge it into tea, wine, etc to give it color.

Notes on Kepler's work and this planetary model

In the XVI century, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) tried to find a relation among the five regular platonic solids and the six planets known in his time: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Kepler thought the two numbers were connected: the reason there were only six planets was because there were only five regular solids.

In 1596, in his work Mysterium Cosmographicum, Kepler established a model of the solar system where the five platonic solids were inserted one inside another, separated by a series of inscribed spheres. He realized that the ratios among the planets orbits' radii could match the ratios among the spheres' radii. His model, however, was not supported by the experimental data from the astronomers Tycho Brahe (Danish, 1546-1601) and Nicolau Copernicus (Polish, 1473-1543). Indeed, his model was entirely disapproved by posterior discoveries of the planets Uranus and Neptune: there are no additional platonic solids that determine their distances to the Sun. However, from his research, new solids were discovered (that, nowadays, are named after him), the perception that the orbits of the planets are not circles but ellipses, and the three laws of the planetary motion.


IN: 4.573 w x 4.573 d x 4.595 h
CM: 11.616 w x 11.616 d x 11.672 h


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@mduttonart creepy/awesome
May 16, 2014, 4:32 pm
the sculpture is still in the process of being built and I dont have a decent picture of it but I have this for now.. I will upload a better one in time. My creature is holding the model in its hand
May 16, 2014, 4:25 pm
@mduttonart cool! I'm curious on how you're using it, any pics?
May 16, 2014, 4:21 pm
using this model in a sculpture that will be exhibiting in Brooklyn in June!
May 16, 2014, 4:16 pm
"because being brilliant is no guarantee against being wrong" :D
April 11, 2014, 3:13 am
Delicate and definitely not a toy, but absolutely fascinating! So pleased to have found it.
March 12, 2014, 2:14 am


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