Solar System

Getting a sense of the interplanetary clockwork

Click to open the interactive

(Use Google Chrome for best results.)

Solar Sytem Interactive

Solar Sytem Interactive

This interactive aims to give people a sense of how the planets in our solar system orbit the sun. In a simplified graphical presentation the planets are seen orbiting the sun at a relatively high speed. The user is encouraged to grab any one of these planets, drag it around the sun manually and experience the orbit periods of the other planets as they are driven along their orbit at relative speeds, uncovering the ‘interplanetary clockwork’. This alone is the simple essence of the interactive.


Besides the eight planets of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the five dwarf planets Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris have been added. A previous version also included the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt, but all these objects proved to affect the overall performance of the infographic. In addition, a monthly calendar is shown relating to the orbit of the earth around the sun.
To keep things simple, several properties of the planets’ orbits such as their shape, inclination and eccentricity have been greatly simplified, as well as the sizes and distances of the planets themselves. This sacrificed some accuracy but kept things from getting too complex. The result is a simple and playful interactive that really engages the user.

Open the infographic here. (Google Chrome is recommended)

Name project
Solar System Orrery
Concept / Illustration / Coding