Sometimes you see a piece of work that perfectly does what it is supposed to do. One such is ‘Astronomical’ by my friend Mishka Henner. In 6,000 pages spread across 12 softcover volumes, he demonstrates how astronomically large our solar system is. Each of the 5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59cm) pages represents a million kilometres. On page 1 is the Sun and on page 6,000 is Pluto, the other pages are black. To fully appreciate how this works see here, which takes us on a ten minute page turning video of a busy Volume 1 where we see the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and the Asteroid Belt.
It was produced in 2011 as a print-on-demand set in an edition of 130 which has now sold out. However I’ve just been given edition ‘131’ by Mishka on a permanent loan to join my specialist collection of Mishka Misprints. There was a mistake made during the printing which cut his name from the bottom of each spine – those of you with The Right Stuff will have noticed that A-S-T-R-O-N-O-M-I-C-A-L and M-I-S-H-K-A H-E-N-N-E-R both contain 12 letters, which looks nice one letter per volume. All in all it’s one of those projects that works as a piece of art and a scientific demonstration of scale (he and I are aware that Pluto’s claim to be a planet has been challenged – and if you think science isn’t about politics, read about the discovery of Pluto). And it’s one of those ideas where you hate someone for coming up with something so simple yet brilliant and wishing you’d done it first.