ActivitiesAstronomyCraftingGeekery

Paper Planet Lantern

A week or so ago, I saw a blog post about a space-themed birthday party. The decorations are fantastic, including paper lantern planets:

That got me thinking: How about paper lanterns that really look like planets?

So, I started looking around for imagemaps of planets and, after a bunch of bad leads, I finally hit the jackpot:

They’ve got maps for several planets, both in a single image and as three separate images. The three-image sets are perfect for printing. You can scale them to fit onto a letter-sized sheet. I printed off Jupiter (cropping the poles a bit):

I wrapped the printouts around a plain white paper lantern and the end result is this:

It’d be nice to be able to close those gaps but the effect’s not too bad. Might be interesting to do a string of them with different planets. Saturn could be a bit of a challenge…

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Steve D

Steve D

Steve consists of approximately 60% water and 40% organic molecules, arranged in a configuration that is, among over things, capable of describing itself in this manner.

7 Comments

  1. April 6, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    At the risk of sounding corny:

    STELLAR!!! 🙂

  2. April 7, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Wow, that is a great idea, and it looks fantastic. You’re right, Saturn’s rings could be a challenge: maybe you could use very thin Styrofoam, covered with glue, sprinkled with sand (or sea salt). How would you adhere it to the planet though…coat hanger wire would be too heavy. Hmm

  3. April 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Fishing wire would work if the rings are not too heavy.

  4. April 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Maybe those bamboo skewers for making kebabs? Stick them straight into the paper around the diameter of Saturn, with maybe a little glue to hold them in place, and then glue two layers of light paper in a ring with the bamboo skewers between…Hmmm, difficult to describe. Sounds like fun afternoon project. These are great, by the way.

  5. April 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    …fishing line I mean, gah.

    @Scopes Monkey Chick – I can visualize what you mean, I think it’s a good idea, but you’d have to figure out a way to anchor the skewers to one of the supports in the lantern, or it would probably tear.

    @Steve D – and I just remembered it’s not just Saturn to worry about with the rings. I date myself all the time with forgetting that – what is it, at least 2 maybe 3 other planets have rings too?

  6. April 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Might be possible to print the rings on tracing paper or tissue paper. Maybe support it with some AWG 18 wire or something?

    @Skulleigh – Call those rings? Bah! In my day, Saturn had three rings and that was it. Harrrumph!

  7. April 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    @Steve D: And Pluto was a planet, and there was a face on Mars! And the moon was a light! No one could land on that! Dagnabbin scientifical advancements! (End channeling my grandpa… /shudder)

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