Orrery 2

The Orrery project is a kind of playground for exploring parametric variation within a very tight set of variables. I'm deliberately restricting myself to a small subset of possible variations using a single three-body system:

  • C orbits B between 2 and 6 times per orbit of B, in either prograde or retrograde direction, at a distance of 10 to 25 units;
  • B orbits A between 3 and 12 times per single orbit of A, in either prograde or retrograde direction, at a distance of 25 to 50 units;
  • "Planets" or "radii" or both may be shown.

Even within the small set of variables there are millions of combinations, an aesthetic landscape which we can explore. It's challenging to apprehend even a thousand variations. Different values generate different associations: some are like etchings of microscopic diatoms or pollen grains: some are stained-glass windows; some are "French" in some way I can't quite understand, others are reminiscent of Celtic patterns.

Complexity is another dimension, easily accessible just by looking at PNG-compressed file size. Twelve examples from a random set of 1,000: the four largest, four in the middle, and the four smallest files: click thumbnails to open larger versions.