Here we have my latest cover design I did for the folks at the Lantern Journal (a hip little arts and literary journal). The second issue, which has a theme of Circle, was published today and is well worth checking out.
In essence, this design is an infographic of a piece of our solar system. The idea was to make something that someone with basic or no reading skills could pick up and glean a basic knowledge of our solar system from.
The following is a detailed exegesis of the design, if you’d rather just appreciate it for it’s pretty looks, that’s fine, stop reading now, otherwise:
• the four inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) and their approximate orbital (sidereal) periods in days.
• two nearest gas giants to the sun (Jupiter, Saturn) and their approximate orbital periods in years (also includes Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, and Saturn’s seven ellipsoidal moons).
• the basic lunar phase and it’s 8 classical stages
• a representation of the life cycle and the average life span for humans on earth
• section of the 12 constellations of the Greek Zodiac
The black lined Coulomb well in the middle, sprouting from the sun, is based on an image I saw explaining atomic structure and functionality. Here, it is meant to draw attention to the similarities between the micro and macro-cosmic universe, but nothing more than that. There is no hard scientific reason for me to add it, it’s only there for artistic/design purposes.
HOW TO READ:
Orbits of the planets:
Each tooth in the “cog” of an orbit represents one Earth day, so there are 365 teeth on the Earth orbit cog, 225 for Venus, 88 for Mercury, and 687 for Mars. Because of Jupiter’s and Saturn’s long orbits, and the fact that I have them much smaller than their actual scale, I couldn’t get them to fit into the gear/cog scheme, (Jupiter takes about 4333 days, and Saturn 10,759 to circle the sun), so they get those “thick dashes” which signify a loose approximation of years.
There are 68 “thick dashes” (including arrowheads) from the birth icon (egg) to the death icon (skull). The average life expectancy at birth, worldwide, is currently 67.59 years. So each block is meant to represent a year of life.
Rotation of Earth/Day Cycle:
There are 24 thin dashes around the earth icon representing the 24 hours it takes for earth to rotate.
The 8 classic phases of the moon are represented and the basic mechanics of how the moon phases work, in relation to the sun, is shown.
Light to reach earth from the sun:
If you zoom in tight on the lines connecting the sun to the earth you would see 497 curved parenthetical lines, which represent the approximate 497 seconds (on average) it takes light from the sun to reach the earth. Further you see 13 crosses between the earth and the moon, which represent the approximate 13 tenths of a second (1.29 seconds) for light from the earth to reach the moon on average. (detail lost in jpeg, you can download the zoomable PDF from the Lantern Journal’s website).
NOTES ON SCALE:
Obviously, nothing is to scale here, but rather than setting everything to arbitrary sizes, I chose to set it all to a scale which follows phi and the Golden Ratio (1.618…). Blame my fascination with sacred geometry for it.
All the planets fall along on a golden spiral. You can see the line I made which begins at the sun and spirals outward at a ratio of 1.618. Where the spiral crosses an orbit, that is where I have elected to place the planets. The moons of Jupiter and Saturn follow the same pattern, only stemming from their respective planets.
The planetary orbits increase in size (for the most part) at a ratio of 1.618. Using the same scale, so does the sun, the planets, the moon, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the dot inside the sun, the outer reach of the sun’s rays, the life cycle, the lunar cycle, the hourly cycle around the Earth, the outside rim of the zodiac houses… pretty much everything BUT Jupiter’s and Saturn’s orbits (which diverge from the Golden Ratio by a factor that is equal to the radius of the representation of the sun’s rays), and the inner ring of the zodiac houses.
The “rays” of the sun (which are very subtle in this finalized design) are sized and spaced as the beginning of the Fibonacci Sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8) and repeat.