Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Dillon Levenque

Planetary news

Recommended Posts

Nyll and Maddy and Celestiall and our other astronomy-oriented contributors will have already heard about this, but if you are a more pedestrian skywatcher like I am you'll enjoy it as well.

Our Cassini space craft orbiting Saturn took a fabulous series of photographs of Saturn while in a total eclipse (the Sun directly behind Saturn). NASA completed a mosaic of the images, and we're in there too!

A very good article with lots of pictures can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24913141

This is a bit of a spoiler, but in this image you can see a little blue dot in the lower right. That's us :smileyhappy:.

Rings.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting Dillon. Yes, I knew about it, in fact I was out in my garden waving as the photo was being taken as NASA had given the time and asked people to wave. If you magnify that little dot a few million times, you'll see me! :smileyvery-happy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Nyll Bergbahn wrote:

Thanks for posting Dillon. Yes, I knew about it, in fact I was out in my garden waving as the photo was being taken as NASA had given the time and asked people to wave. If you magnify that little dot a few million times, you'll see me! :smileyvery-happy:

Ohh I'm trying to zoom in but the 4,000,000,000,000 x 6,000,000,000,000 pixel version is slow to download :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


KarenMichelle Lane wrote:


Nyll Bergbahn wrote:

Thanks for posting Dillon. Yes, I knew about it, in fact I was out in my garden waving as the photo was being taken as NASA had given the time and asked people to wave. If you magnify that little dot a few million times, you'll see me! :smileyvery-happy:

Ohh I'm trying to zoom in but the 4,000,000,000,000 x 6,000,000,000,000 pixel version is slow to download
:P

http://gigapan.com

http://www.paris-26-gigapixels.com/index-en.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KarenMichelle Lane wrote:

Ohh I'm trying to zoom in but the 4,000,000,000,000 x 6,000,000,000,000 pixel version is slow to download
:P


:smileyvery-happy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Madelaine McMasters wrote:


KarenMichelle Lane wrote:


Nyll Bergbahn wrote:

Thanks for posting Dillon. Yes, I knew about it, in fact I was out in my garden waving as the photo was being taken as NASA had given the time and asked people to wave. If you magnify that little dot a few million times, you'll see me! :smileyvery-happy:

Ohh I'm trying to zoom in but the 4,000,000,000,000 x 6,000,000,000,000 pixel version is slow to download
:P


Ohhh Kewl Beans - I forwarded that to NASA asking them to get with IT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a link to PetaPixel, which has collected a bunch of Cassini related stuff...

http://petapixel.com/?s=cassini

Here's the NASA webpage for the full resolution images...

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/pia17172

And if you open the following image in a new window, you'll see it  at 9000 x 3500 pixels...

Earth from Saturn.jpg

There's a cool mosaic of that image, made with photos sent in by people who waved at Saturn on July 19 (Nyll and I did, though I did not submit a photo). There's also a mosaic of Earth made from the same images. You'll find those here...

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/pia17679

Thanks for the head's up, Dillon!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That image was the one at the start of the article I linked. When I first saw it I just sat and looked at it for quite a long time. It was really hard to believe it was real. Seeing it again in your post has the same effect. It's an absolutely fabulous image, but it is still hard to believe it is a real photograph (or in this case, a mosaic of real photographs).

I think I've told this story to you before, but seeing Saturn through a telescope was much the same. I'd heard that it was in very close opposition and with good tilt, so I was out in the back yard with my 90mm Celestron trying to get it in the the field of view. When I finally did I just stared until it crept out of vision (I only had a standard photography tripod so I had to keep moving in two directions to keep things in view). It was a stunningly bright gold sphere surrouned by an equally stunningly bright gold ring. If I hadn't been told differently, I'd have sworn it was a construct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the technology that is, literally, at our fingertips.  To explore our wonderful and exciting universe from the comfort of our desktop is simply amazing; especially for us inner-city dwellers ...

Great post and great links.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I've recently mentioned, I am teaching my 77yo landlord about computers and in a couple of months he's gone from being nervous about sending emails (before) to confidently organising and re-organising his 7,000+ photos, etc.  Most recently we've been reformatting them for lower resolution so he can send more at once without killing the whole internet.  The point being that the hi-res mosaic is the same (file) size as each picture of the dogs in the back garden he was emailing around.

He, several of the other people who live here and I have just been comparing the interest/importance/significance of in those few pixels (25ish?) from Cassini, let alone the whole thing, to the amount of bandwidth the kids (*young adults") here consume.  So we've had a night of astronomical awe, chat, computer revision and the reasons why and a fair bit of wine thanks to this thread :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Dillon Levenque wrote:

That image was the one at the start of the article I linked. When I first saw it I just sat and looked at it for quite a long time. It was really hard to believe it was real. Seeing it again in your post has the same effect. It's an absolutely fabulous image, but it is still hard to believe it is a real photograph (or in this case, a mosaic of real photographs).

I think I've told this story to you before, but seeing Saturn through a telescope was much the same. I'd heard that it was in very close opposition and with good tilt, so I was out in the back yard with my 90mm Celestron trying to get it in the the field of view. When I finally did I just stared until it crept out of vision (I only had a standard photography tripod so I had to keep moving in two directions to keep things in view). It was a stunningly bright gold sphere surrouned by an equally stunningly bright gold ring. If I hadn't been told differently, I'd have sworn it was a construct.

And I think I've told you the story of introducing Saturn to people at our astronomy club's star parties. But I'll tell it again.

Every summer, astronomy clubs around the world hold "Star Parties", where they bring out their telescopes, their expertise and their quiet enthusiasm to a public venue and invite people to share the view. During those summers when Saturn is visible after sundown, it's always a crowd favorite. When I encounter someone who's never looked into a telescope before, much less seen Saturn, here's now the conversation usually (almost always) goes...

"What are we looking at here?"

"Saturn."

"Where do I look?"

"Straight down into the eyepiece right here. Get your eye up close and dive right in."

"Here?"

"Yep, you start looking, I'll tell you when you see Saturn."

"What do you mean you'll tell me when I see Saturn? How will you know?"

"Oh, I'll know."

They start peering around, often at the wrong angle.

"I don't see anything."

"I know."

"How did you know?"

"Let's not bother with that right now. Keep looking, straight down into the eyepiece, get up close."

A little more looking, I might gently grab their head and steer them, and then...

"Wwwwwooooowwwww!!!"

"Pretty, isn't it?"

"Oh my goodness yes, how did you know I saw it? (a pause as they study it) Oh wait, does everybody say "wow"?"

"Mmm hmm."

"Oh this is so neat. It looks like someone just painted it in there. Are you sure that's really Saturn?"

"I have every reason to believe that's Saturn, I'm a terrible painter."

I never let on, but after more than thirty years of introducing Saturn to new people, I still share their excitement. It never grows old. Saturn is moving into the morning sky now, but will be out in the evening again next summer, and I'll be ready to hear "wow" once again, and say it myself when nobody's around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


PeterCanessa Oh wrote:

As I've recently mentioned, I am teaching my 77yo landlord about computers and in a couple of months he's gone from being nervous about sending emails (before) to confidently organising and re-organising his 7,000+ photos, etc.  Most recently we've been reformatting them for lower resolution so he can send more at once without killing the whole internet.  The point being that the hi-res mosaic is the same (file) size as each picture of the dogs in the back garden he was emailing around.

He, several of the other people who live here and I have just been comparing the interest/importance/significance of in those few pixels (25ish?) from Cassini, let alone the whole thing, to the amount of bandwidth the kids (*young adults") here consume.  So we've had a night of astronomical awe, chat, computer revision and the reasons why and a fair bit of wine thanks to this thread :-)

I love those kinds of conversations, Peter. I find your file size comparison interesting, not just because it casts the value of a pixel in a different light, but because it also (and I believe correctly) reveals the value of dogs in gardens.

I'm starting to have interesting discussions with the new neighbor kids, who are 5, 7 and 9 years old. They come over to look through my telescope. During their last visit, the oldest asked a lot of questions, including...

"How do you remember all the names of those stars and planets and things, and where they are?".

I paused for a moment.

"Tell me your address."

He did.

"I've met two of your grandparents, where do the other two live and what are their names?"

He told me.

"What school are you going to now? Where is it? What school did you go to last year? Where was it?"

He told me.

"Do you know where the market and movie theater are?"

"Yep, we just saw "Planes", it was okay."

 

"My goodness, here you are, only nine years old. How do you remember the names of all those things, and where they are?"

"You're silly."

"Yes I am, do you mind?"

"It's okay."

 

Tough crowd.

;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that. It's true that the topic had nothing to do with SL but were it not for SL it's likely you wouldn't  have had the collection of photos and all the links from Nyll and Maddy and Karen and Celestiall and others to provide a scholarly background to your conversations.

Personally, I'm just glad to know I brought up a topic that resulted in some people drinking wine together. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, this isn't Saturn, and chances are most of you astronomy buffs know of this pic already, but I think everyone on the planet should know it. As Voyager 1 was hurtling out of the solar system, it turned around and took one of its last photos before its cameras were turned off to save power. Note the white pixel, near the mid-right edge of the image?

Pale_Blue_Dot.png

In the words of the late, great Carl Sagan:

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

Those words apply equally well to the dot in Cassini's latest pics of Saturn.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That picture (and Sagan's remarks about it) were referenced in the BBC article I saw that started this thread. Shame on me for not going there at the time and following up.

Thank you very much for bringing both the image and the message here. I hadn't realized that the image was from Voyager 1. That makes it even more special in my opinion. She (pardon the anthromorphism) was the subject of one of the few threads I've started: http://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/V-ger-1-still-on-her-way/m-p/921221

I have worked in electronics and electomechanical manufacturing. From a manufacturing point of view, the Voyager Project was the greatest single scientific/engineering/manufacturing achievement of the Twentieth Century.

Now I'm going to go back and look at that 'point of pale light' some more, and thank you again for bringing it to the thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Always happy to share some Sagan ;)

The voyagers are truly remarkable, and the people involved with them are in the same league as Magellan and James Cook as far as I'm concerned. Pioneers and starry-eyed explorers all.

Check out The Sagan Series  - chapter 10 is the 'pale blue dot' monologue, put to video.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...