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illustration Orrery



Part of speech: noun

Origin: English, early 18th century


A mechanical model of the solar system, or of just the sun, Earth, and moon, used to represent their relative positions and motions.

Examples of Orrery in a sentence

"The antique orrery held a place of honor in the library."

"The miniature orrery received quite a bit of use in the science class."

About Orrery

You've likely made an orrery and didn't realize it. An orrery is a model of the solar system, or at least the sun, Earth, and the moon. Technically it's supposed to be mechanical, but we'll still call your elementary school model of painted styrofoam balls an orrery.

Did you Know?

Models of the solar system have been created since ancient times, but the more modern versions are called orreries. There's no scientific origin to the name; the moniker is thanks to a commission from Charles Boyle, the Fourth Earl of Orrery.

illustration Orrery

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