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Globes Logo Click for Full Size Image

Origami Globes by DofTNet is a new site that I built just for the origami globe kits. I recently updated the graphics and the source information that I used to make the globes and ran the scripts again to build all new kits. I built the new site as part of my preparations for the Albuquerque Mini Maker Faire which was in late August 2013, and the Pacific Coast OrigamiUSA Convention 2013 which will take place in Albuquerque in early October.

The Sun Click for Full Size Image

Right smack in the middle of our solar system is.. well.. the Sun. From where we sit, we can only see one side of it at a time. Back in 2006, NASA launched a pair of space probes that they collectively call STEREO - the Solar TErestrial RElations Observatory. Since then, one has been drifting further ahead of the Earth in it's orbit. The other has been drifting further behind. On February 6, 2011, they passed the point where they could actually see the entire far side of the Sun. Now, with the combined views of the STEREO spacecraft and the SOHO observatory, we are able to see the entire surface of the sun!

Now I've taken graphics from NOAA's Science on a Sphere datasets of the helium emissions of the sun and turned it into a set of origami globes:

Mercury Click for Full Size Image

Mercury is the closest planet to our sun. Until recently, we only had detailed images of about 45% of the planet's surface. Fortunately, the MESSENGER probe that is currently in orbit around Mercury has fixed all that. We now have images of nearly the entire planet. Taking advantage of that and running the map from the offical MESSENGER website through my icosaglobeulator script has produced a kit for you to construct! Also available in cube and dodecahedron.

Venus - Cloud Tops Click for Full Size Image

For a long time, this is all we could see of Venus. The planet is covered with a thick atmosphere including a cloud cover that blocks our view of the surface. This, of course, led to wild speculation of the surface being a beautiful tropical paradise... mostly by wishful science fiction writers. While the Mariner flybys didn't give us a good look at the surface, we could tell that it was less a paradise and more like we imagine hell to be like. It wasn't until the russians landed probes that we had any idea *how* hellish it is.

Venus - Radar Map Click for Full Size Image

We didn't have a good idea of what the surface looked like until we sent the Magellin mission to venus which used it's radar system to pierce the cloud layer and map out most of the surface. These globe kits were built using the resulting image data.

Earth - Relief Map Click for Full Size Image

The first origami globe that I created was built using the graphics pilfered directly from the cut-fold-glue icosahedron globe that was produced by NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center. Ever since I first ran across that version, I wanted to convert it into a modular origami kit using the triangle edge module. Since then, the whole project has expanded way beyond the original relief map.

I built the original modules using SVG graphics files. SVG files are written in XML and external graphics can be linked just like in web pages so it was obvious that I could create a generic SVG file and write a script to generate the right projections and chop them up into the right shape and size that the SVG files could link to. That way I could make a globe using any map.

I remade the original set of instructions using the map data from NOAA, except instead of using the graphics from their cut-fold-glue icosahedron, I used the unprojected map graphics run through my script.

When I wrote the script, I added an option to generate projections with the poles oriented on opposite vertices like NOAA's globe or center the poles on opposite faces which allows you to set it on a desk or a display stand and have the equater be level with the ground. I did a ridiculous amount of trigonometry just to get the correct latitude, longitude, and rotation of each of the faces, but I think it was worth the effort. Most of my globes use this orientation. In this case, I generated globes using both orientations.

Earth - Land, Ocean, Sea Ice Click for Full Size Image

This one uses map data from NASA's Visible Earth website which shows a cloud-free view of the earth including the polar ice caps.

Earth - City Lights Click for Full Size Image

Once again, from NASA's Visible Earth website, this is a global view of the Earth "at night" so to speak. One of these days maybe I'll make a globe with an actual day-night boundary using this and one of the other Visible Earth maps.

Earth - Cloudy Click for Full Size Image

This one also takes it's graphics from NASA's Visible Earth website. This version includes clouds and is reminiscent of The Blue Marble photograph taken from Apollo 17 en route to the moon.

The Moon Click for Full Size Image

Once I figured out how to make globes using any equirectangular map data, I decided to make more than just icosahedral earths starting with our own moon. This map data came from JHT's Planetary Pixel Emporium which has several texture maps of various solar system bodies as well as a lot of other interesting content.

Mars Click for Full Size Image

Moving further out from our home, we arrive at Mars. This map data comes from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory based on Viking images.

Jupiter Click for Full Size Image

On to Jupiter. This map data was also taken from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, this time from their PhotoJournal site. It is based on data captured by the Cassini spacecraft while on its way to Saturn.

Saturn Click for Full Size Image

Saturn. It may second place in the size category but it boasts the most impressive ring system in the solar system.

Building this kit was tough. The planet itself was easy enough. I started with the Saturn map from Björn Jónsson's website and ran it through my icosahedron globe script. The rings, on the other hand, required a lot of work. First, I had to design the ring modules. I doodled quite a bit knowing I needed 12 interlocking modules that would extent about 2 inches from the planet. I finally came up with a design I was satisfied with and then set about designing the rings. Instead of using a "map" like the planets used, I opted to use the text files containing the reflective, transparency, and color data of the rings, also from Björn Jónsson's website, and run it through a script that created a gradient that I could use in Inkscape. Once I got the modules designs, I had to draw up diagrams then package it all together.

I haven't designed rings for the cube or dodecahedron globes yet so for right now, the only saturn available comes in the form of an icosahedron.

    Available Kits:
  • Icosahedron
  • Coming Soon:
  • Dodecahedron
Uranus Click for Full Size Image

After a lot of beautiful images taken by the Voyagers flybys of Jupiter and Saturn, it turns out that by comparison, Uranus is rather disappointing. There are some interesting things about Uranus though. For instance, its axis is tipped nearly on its side. The graphics for this globe came from JHT's Planetary Pixel Emporium as well.

Neptune Click for Full Size Image

The eighth planet. After the relatively bland and mostly featureless Uranus, we were all pleasantly surprised by the brilliant blue gas giant with interesting weather. During the Voyager 2 flyby, we even got to see a large dark anticyclone similar to Jupiter's great red spot. More recent hubble images have shown us that Neptune's great storms are not nearly as stable as Jupiter's. It disappears and reforms elsewhere on the planet and may be dependent on the local seasons. In any case, it's a beautiful world.

The map data for these globes was obtained from NOAA's Science on a Sphere Astronomy Datasets.

Pluto Click for Full Size Image

No longer considered a planet by many, it will always be the nineth to me. It turns out the pluto system is a lot more crowded than we ever thought. Pluto and Charon are close enough in size that they both orbit their common center of mass positioned in the space between them. In addition, we have discovered three smaller companions that orbit further out. For now, this is the best map we have of Pluto which was also downloaded from NOAA's Science on a Sphere Astronomy Datasets. In 2015, the New Horizons mission is set to fly by which will hopefully give us a much more detailed map.

WMAP - Cosmic Microwave Backgrou Click for Full Size Image

Moving out to the furthest reaches of time and space, all we see is microwaves. The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe set out to make a detailed map of the extremely tiny variations in the microwave background in the hopes that it could provide some details on the origins of large scale structure of the universe. The WMAP Science Team has given us a lot of valuable information including that detailed map they were after.

Death Star Click for Full Size Image

This is something that someone asked me to make a long time ago.. uh.. in a.. uh... galaxy far, far away?

Okay, really it was probably back in 2009 when someone asked me if I could make an origami death star. Finally, I've come up with a kit using my globe script and map I threw together. I have it aligned so that the main weapon is on a point that can be indented to give it the proper effect.

Download, print, and build your own galactic empire!

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