Teaching Astronomy

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During the 19th century, the astronomy of the solar system was taught by mechanical instruments such as this orrery. The complex gearing of the machine is operated by a crank handle, which ensures that each planet completes its solar orbit relative to the other planets. The planets are roughly to a scale of 50,000 miles (80,500 km) to 1 in (3 cm), except for the Sun, which would need to be 17 in (43 cm) in diameter for the model to be accurate.

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