Gallifreyan Orrery

I’ve long been enchanted by orreries (working models of the solar system). They are beautiful pieces of engineering, and just a little bit magical in the way they capture something of the mystery of an endless spinning universe.

This orrery is different: it’s a moving model of Gallifrey’s binary star system.

I spent several months constructing the model and the box that contains it, and I’m pleased with how it turned out. It reminds me of an ancient artifact that you might find in a dusty, forgotten corner of a big blue box hurtling through time and space….

orrery jc wm 1

Gallifreyan Orrery // c. Julie Coombes, August 29, 2016

The orange planet on the left is Gallifrey, which has (at least) two moons. One moon, Pazithi Gallifreya, was worshipped in ancient times as a virgin goddess.

Clockwise from Gallifrey:

  • Polarfrey is a gas giant.
  • Karn is red and rocky, home to the Sisterhood of Karn, keepers of the Flame of Eternal Boredom Life.
  • Shada is a prison asteroid, time-locked and dimensionally displaced in its irregular orbit.
  • Kasterberous ‘The Fibster’ is a large asteroid.
  • The inner planet’s name is unknown to humankind.

In the center of the system are Gallifrey’s two suns. One is a large fixed-orbit, yellow-orange star, and the second, smaller star is a dwarf in a ‘slave’ orbit to the larger star. The center of mass lies between the two.

gallifrey orrery map jc wm

Gallifrey’s Binary Star System // Julie Coombes, 2016

orrery 3

It moves // Julie Coombes 2016

Yes, the model spins. No, I haven’t solved the gravitational “multi-body problem” for this star system. You’re welcome to have a go, if you like. Let me know if you work it out.

orrery box jc wm

Box containing the Gallifreyan orrery // Julie Coombes 2016

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