Saturday, May 24, 2008

Great Stella

After finally persuading my Dad to let me get it, I now have my own copy of the program Great Stella! Great Stella is one of the only available computer programs for viewing and printing out nets for polyhedra. But it can also stellate, facet, truncate, augment, and much more. Great Stella is the second in a series of polyhedron-making software by Robert Webb. The first, Small Stella, comes with a library of about 300 polyhedra and can print out nets for all of them, but cannot modify them at all other than changing their size. Great Stella has the capacity to, as I mentioned earlier, play around with the models quite a bit. It also comes with a built in library of several hundred polyhedra, including many not included in Small Stella. And finally, there is Stella 4D, which is a lot like Great Stella, but also can handle 4-dimensional models. Wait, 4-dimensional? Sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, right? Technically, though, there is no way of proving that the fourth dimension doesn't exist (I think), and besides, four dimensional objects (projected into our familiar three) look really cool. And who knows? Maybe we are just poor shortsighted three dimensional beings wandering around on the three dimensional surface of a four dimensional hypersphere. But I digress.
So far I have made one model with nets from Great Stella, the compound of four cubes. My model is in red, yellow, orange, and black, with an edge length of 3 inches (so a diameter of about 5.2 inches). I will get a picture of this model up soon. The model matches my compound of 3 cubes in edge length, and I am currently building a compound of 6 tetrahedra with an edge lenth of three inches as well.