Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Armillary sphere illustration for date, time and location

An attempt to come up with something more original
  [vote for,

Indicate the location, date and time on a letter or other document, for instance a prop in a film, by generating a ray-traced image of an armillary sphere in the correct position. Interface works something like (sorry, don't understand programming) a function or procedure like this:

procedure Armillarysphere(Julian Date, seconds since midnight UT, latitude in seconds of arc (signed), longitude in seconds of arc east of Greenwich (unsigned));

The output is a CGI armillary sphere correctly arranged for that date, time and location, which can either be stuck on a webpage, put on a letter head or placed into a scene in a video or photograph via whatever it is they use to do that, with appropriate perspective, lighting and so forth.

nineteenthly, Feb 19 2010

Armillary sphere at wikipedia.org http://en.wikipedia...ki/Armillary_sphere
[phoenix, Feb 19 2010]


       Thanks. I wonder when something stops being an orrery. Charles Fort had this thing about Steam Engine time, that a civilisation reached a point where it would "blossom" into inventing steam engines. I think that effect can be seen here sometimes because something is suggested on this site which turns out to have appeared recently. This isn't that though, because people are copying each other.   

       There are also astrolabes, planispheres, sextants, octants and quadrants, all of which have connections with orreries, and even the Antikythera Device.
nineteenthly, Feb 21 2010

       It looks too simple to be an armillary sphere, [duckdodgers] and i'm pretty sure it's not an astrolabe. I would say that the less one contributes to this category the better, at the moment, so it's a virtue if your contribution is indeed puny.   

       I do have just one more orrery idea which i'm trying to avoid posting and funnily enough, it's a garden ornament.
nineteenthly, Feb 21 2010

       If you’re wondering when something stops being an orrery, I woke up this morning to find one of our potatoes had stopped being an orrery and had turned into a horological device. I got up at eight o’clock.
Ian Tindale, Feb 21 2010

       So i take it this spud was standing up in the middle of a dial outside somewhere?
nineteenthly, Feb 21 2010

       Well, I did recently get POV-Ray running from the command line on Ubuntu. However, I don't have a server running currently (looking for something that consumes less power, maybe a SheevaPlug), but I'll set this up when I'm able.
lurch, Feb 21 2010

       That'd be good. My abilities on POVRay are probably enough to make a sundial, but that'd be about it. Come to think of it, i might be able to manage a skeleton globe of bronze with the conventional latitude and longitude lines and a central malachite sphere. An armillary sphere, or even a skeleton globe at an angle, would be beyond my abilities.
nineteenthly, Feb 21 2010

       My talents are limited but i've also considered using POVRay to do that, [bigsleep]. It'd probably be best to do it the other way round: render first, followed by idea posting. This process could presumably be speeded up by coming up with ideas which involve only Platonic solids and simple geometrical shapes with shiny surfaces in primary colours.
nineteenthly, Feb 21 2010


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