↑ On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: an illustration of our place in the universe. A film by Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh.
This short film is great idea and well-executed. Our only problem with it—and it’s something we can’t fault the filmmakers Wylie and Alex for—is that this flat model our solar system shows only the half-truth.
To show the whole truth you’d have to lift the model into the sky, tilt the orbits almost vertically, then move the whole solar system rapidly across the sky with the planets in orbital motion.
What’s the difference?
If you saw the model moving that way, you’d immediately realize that the planets, including Earth, orbit in a kind of corkscrew or a helix through space as the whole solar system (including the sun) moves in orbit around the center of the Milky Way. The planets do not orbit in circles on a flat plane. In 365 days, Earth will not to be back where it was in the circle, it will have travelled—moving in a spiral pattern through space—many millions of miles away from where it is today.
In other words: