Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day The Last

Clearing away for the next builder in Round Six. Thank you for the opportunity, to the people of the LEA.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 100: Grand Opening Announcement

Opening:  Saturday, November 16th at 11am SLT
Location:  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA27/128/128/22

Kimika Ying presents Oceania Planetary Park, a walking tour of the solar system in an island park setting. Supported by the Linden Endowment for the Arts.

Visitors are invited to hike the mountain trail where they can see and gain an appreciation for the relative sizes of the planets. Other exhibits can be reached from the ground floor of the observatory at the end of the trail.

The park was created as an educational experience but the intent is to inspire a sense of wonder about the universe outside of our home planet.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 90: Exhibit opening and video tours

Running Tour from Kimika Ying on Vimeo.

First a quick tour, from the arrival point up to the observatory.  

Gravity well from Kimika Ying on Vimeo.

And a look at the new gravity well exhibit.  You can aim the cannon to set balls rolling into the well at different angles.

What is a gravity well? Wikipedia has a technical answer:
A gravity well or gravitational well is a conceptual model of the gravitational field surrounding a body in space. The more massive the body, the deeper and more extensive the gravity well associated with it. The Sun is very massive, relative to other bodies in the solar system, so the corresponding gravity well that surrounds it appears "deep" and far-reaching. The gravity wells of asteroids and small moons, conversely, are often depicted as very shallow. Anything on the surface of a planet or moon is considered to be at the bottom of that celestial body's gravity well, and so escaping the effects of gravity from such a planet or moon, (to enter outer space,) is sometimes called "climbing out of the gravity well." The deeper a gravity well is, the more energy any space-bound "climber" must use to escape it.

And for "what does it all mean?" in regard to our solar system, we go to xkcd.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 76: Planet Walk exhibit

The alternate planet walk is complete. It displays the sun and planets to scale in both size and distance apart. The inner planets out to Mars look comfortably grouped, though almost too small to see. But it is a long walk to the outer planets. The vertical bars in the background represent light moving out from the sun. To just reach Mercury takes it about three minutes.

There is a notecard available at the arrival point which contains a light speed indicator which, when worn, shows you how many times the speed of light you are moving at.

Location: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA27/9/244/1236
The exhibit can also be reached by an Anywhere Door on the ground floor of the observatory.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 44

The New Horizons spacecraft model.

The spacecraft is on its way to a flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto and at the time of this writing is between the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. At a speed of almost 15 km/sec it still has 663 days to go.

New Horizons website

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 37

I've nothing much to report as I've been busy with my everyday life lately. But I'm still here! The only visible changes on the island has been the addition of some trees.

Most of what I've been doing lately on the project has been reading, gathering information, writing text to accompany each planet and exhibit. The slow, tedious bits.

Write, write, erase, write. Dammit Jim, I'm a builder not a writer.

I'm still planning on opening this month. Just a little further to go.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day 27

Lately I've been working on displaying which spacecraft are near or on the surface of the other planets. Showing where they are in real time is beyond my ability, but you will be able to see the orbits they are in. Mars (shown above) is a busy place: three orbiters and two functioning rovers. The yellow and red lines show where it's two moons are.

NASA's Eyes on the Solar System program is being a great help for checking that I'm displaying things correctly. I highly recommend it.

I've also begun work on a model of the New Horizons spacecraft which will fly past Pluto in July 2015.