Big Dipper 3-D

Make a three dimensional model of the big dipper.

Material

Master pattern for big dipper below.
6 clear plastic deli trays (such as DART C90HT, or Reynolds 1757 available from Restaurant supply stores in bulk at \$0.12 to \$0.25)
scissors
tape or double sided tape
Sharpie, or other marker to write on plastic.

Cut the bottoms and tops of the deli containers apart. Set aside the tops of the containers they can be used as well but you should always use tops with tops and bottoms with bottoms.

Print the big dipper pattern on a piece of paper.

Cut the big dipper pattern to size so that it will fit inside one of the deli containers.

Then tape the pattern into the container.

This deli tray will serve to position all the subsequent deli trays.

Drop an empty deli tray into the deli tray that has been taped to the paper master.

Draw the star Dubhe onto this tray, which will represent a distance of 120 LY from earth.

Remove this tray, and put anther tray into position. Mark the star Alkaid onto this tray which represents a distance of 100 LY.

Substitute one more tray. Mark the middle 5 stars of the big dipper onto this tray. This tray represents a distance of 80 LY.

Put the Dubhe tray on the table, it is 120 LY from earth.

Place one empty tray on top of it representing a distance of 110 LY.

Place the tray with Alkaid on top of this one, 100 LY from earth.

Place an empty tray on top of this one representing 90 LY from earth.

Place the tray with 5 stars on top, 80 LY.

You now have a 3 dimensional model of the big dipper.

Rotate the stack of trays and view the dipper from many different directions

See how it looks from behind.

See how it looks from the side.

If you were to place 8 more empty trays on top of these and pace your eye against the uppermost tray you could view the dipper from the distance of the earth.

 Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty © 2007 11 November 2007