Orreries 'R' Us (was Re: 5/5/2000)

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*lib.org)
Tue, 15 Jul 1997 21:35:58 -0700

Well, I cranked up my copy of the freeware Home Planet program
(written by the estimable John Walker) and set the Wayback machine
for 2000 - May 01, then let it walk forward.

It looks like all the planets do wind up on the same side of the
Sun, *not counting the Earth*--but from an astrological perspective
I guess the Earth isn't a planet... Or that all the planets except Mars,
but _counting_ the Earth, wind up on the same side, depending on exactly
what day in May you look at.

>From Damien Broderick:
>This is way off topic, but it's a meme-jungle out there. An ep of the
>Chris Carter series `Millennium' was shown here in Oz the other night, in
>which the Grand Key to It All (maybe) is revealed as an impending planetary

Hardly a line-up. At least by my orrery, all you get is a scatter of planets
that all fall on one side of an imaginary line bisecting the Solar System.

>of seven planets, all neatly on the same side of the sun as the
>earth, in May 2000. Not having a digital orrey to hand, I wonder if anyone
>who does have access to such a program could confirm or deny this detail?

Well, *AS SEEN FROM EARTH* they would make a line; but this is
just because they're pretty much more or less on the plane of the Ecliptic
(I'm not sure what's up with Pluto, and I'm not fascinated enough
to go fire up Home Planet again and go see about it). Not counting Pluto,
that would be seven planets in a line, visible at night, all right.
A pretty long line, though.

Methinks they "sweetened this up" for an impressive _2001_-style lineup
visual. Did they?

>I find it hard to believe, and assume the scriptwriters just kinda...
>rearranged the solar system, to make the story work.

See above. I welcome anyone else to confirm. It may very well be rare.


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