Team: John Choi, Samuel Day, Justin Abel, Victoria Rosuello

Our teams wishes to explore the orbital motion of celestial bodies, gravity, and the effect of warping light around large bodies of mass. We also intend to explore the varied surfaces of exotic planets with colorful mountains, oceans and crevasses galore against the infinite allure of mystical nebulae with gigantic glowing balls of thermonuclear explosions that form the brilliant stars.

Here is a series of concept sketches depicting our final vision for the project:


Our project is built  on top of our previous framework utilizing a single spinning stepper motor impaled onto a black ball of paper and metallic foil. We will improve and expand upon this experiment with more planets, more lights, more colors and more effects. In all, this shall result in a “weird abstract” planetarium of celestial bodies orbiting one or multiple stars.

In order to execute our vision, we intend to construct 10 planets out of expanded polystyrene spheres, covered with different materials such as foil, paper, paint and more to simulate various planet surface textures. During our final shoot, we intend to create atmospheric space effects with the clever application of Humidifiers and Mist Spray Bottles.

We will construct a kinematic armature with 1 main stepper motor to spin the entire superstructure, with 2 smaller rotary appendages powered by continuous rotation servomotors on the ends of the main armature to represent orbiting moons. To complement to our armature, we will create custom Arduino electronics to run the stepper motor and servo motors simultaneously.

The final film will be composed of 5 cuts, with 2 planets per cut. When compiled together, everything will look like one pan for one scene. The picture begins in complete blackness, and gradually shows planets swirling around a brilliant star, whose great bright white light eventually engulfs the entire screen in a ethereal flash of white light.