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written by Todd Timberlake
The Simple Artificial Solar Systems package is a zip archive containing a set of thirty different Java programs (created using Easy Java Simulations) that simulate the night sky for fictitious solar systems.  Each simulation illustrates the motion of a "Sun" and some "planets" relative to a fixed background of stars.  

Students can use these simulations to make qualitative and quantitative observations of the solar and planetary motions.  These observations can then be used to construct models (Ptolemaic, Copernican, Tychonic, etc) for that solar system.  Handouts for these projects are provided as supplementary documents.

All of the solar systems were constructed such that all planets orbit in a common plane around the central "Sun".  All orbits are circular, and thus the planets move uniformly on their orbits.  This makes the geometry of the models much simpler.

Included in the zip archive is a spreadsheet giving the required data for each system.  Instructors who want their students to complete the projects individually should assign the 30 solar systems at random and privately document which solar system (by number) each student receives. Change the name of the solar system file from "ejs_YourSolarSystem01.jar" to "StudentNameSolarSystem.jar" (using the actual names of your students, of course) and then distribute the files to your students. That way your students will not know which system they have, so even if they get a copy of the solar system data file they will not be able to determine the data for their solar system without doing the necessary work (unless they want to rely on a 1 in 30 chance of guessing correctly).

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
View the supplemental documents attached to this resource (4)
  • Sample Fictitious Solar System
    This JAR file is one example of the kinds of programs contained in the Simple Fictitious Solar Systems package.  It is ready to run and (unlike the programs in the package) it can be loaded into Easy Java Simulations for editing.
  • Handouts for Project on Observing the Solar System
    This zip archive contains a handout describing a project in which students observe and measure the apparent motions of the sun and planets in their fictitious solar system.  Also included is a grading rubric for this project.  Both documents are provided in LaTeX and PDF formats.
  • Handouts for Project on Ptolemaic Modeling
    This zip archive contains a handout describing a project in which students construct a Ptolemaic model of their fictitious solar system.  Also included is a grading rubric for this project.  Both documents are provided in LaTeX and PDF formats.
  • Handouts for Project on Copernican Modeling
    This zip archive contains a handout describing a project in which students construct a Copernican model for their fictitious solar system.  Also included is a grading rubric for this project.  Both documents are provided in LaTeX and PDF formats.
View the source code document attached to this resource
  • Source Code for the Sample Fictitious Solar System
    This zip archive contains the source code for the sample fictitious solar system program.  However, this source code is set to produce a program that will not allow the model to be loaded into Easy Java Simulations for editing.  This prevents any students familiar with EJS from determining orbital parameters simply by examining the EJS model.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Astronomy
- Astronomy Education
= Curricula
- Historical Astronomy
= History of Astronomy
= Philosophy of Science
- Solar System
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Project
= Simulation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- General Publics
- application/java
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Access Rights: Free access
License: This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.
Rights Holder: Todd Timberlake
Keywords: Copernicus, EJS, Easy Java Simulations, OSP, Open Source Physics, Ptolemy, Tycho, deferent, epicycle, orbit, planet, retrograde
Record Cloner: Metadata instance created January 3, 2013 by Todd Timberlake
Record Updated: Jan 04, 2013 by Wolfgang Christian
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 3, 2013
Other Collections:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
T. Timberlake, Computer Program SIMPLE FICTITIOUS SOLAR SYSTEMS, Version 1.0 (2013), WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12569&DocID=3161).
AJP/PRST-PER
T. Timberlake, Computer Program SIMPLE FICTITIOUS SOLAR SYSTEMS, Version 1.0 (2013), <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12569&DocID=3161>.
APA Format
Timberlake, T. (2013). Simple Fictitious Solar Systems (Version 1.0) [Computer software]. Retrieved August 22, 2014, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12569&DocID=3161
Chicago Format
Timberlake, Todd. "Simple Fictitious Solar Systems." Version 1.0. http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12569&DocID=3161 (accessed 22 August 2014).
MLA Format
Timberlake, Todd. Simple Fictitious Solar Systems. Vers. 1.0. Computer software. 2013. Java (JRE) 1.5. 22 Aug. 2014 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12569&DocID=3161>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Todd Timberlake", Title = {Simple Fictitious Solar Systems}, Month = {January}, Year = {2013} }
Refer Export Format

%A Todd Timberlake
%T Simple Fictitious Solar Systems
%D January 3, 2013
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12569&DocID=3161
%O 1.0
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program
%A Timberlake, Todd
%D January 3, 2013
%T Simple Fictitious Solar Systems
%7 1.0
%8 January 3, 2013
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12569&DocID=3161


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Simple Fictitious Solar Systems:

Is Based On Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool

The Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool is needed to explore the computational model used in the Simple Fictitious Solar Systems.

relation by Wolfgang Christian

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