“When NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 mph (about 7.3 kilometer per second), which set it on course for a July 4, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter.
One of Juno’s sensors, a special kind of camera optimized to track faint stars, also had a unique view of the Earth-moon system. The result was an intriguing, low-resolution glimpse of what our world would look like to a visitor from afar.
The cameras that took the images for the movie are located near the pointed tip of one of the spacecraft’s three solar-array arms. They are part of Juno’s Magnetic Field Investigation (MAG) and are normally used to determine the orientation of the magnetic sensors. These cameras look away from the sunlit side of the solar array, so as the spacecraft approached, the system’s four cameras pointed toward Earth. Earth and the moon came into view when Juno was about 600,000 miles (966,000 kilometers) away — about three times the Earth-moon separation.
During the flyby, timing was everything. Juno was traveling about twice as fast as a typical satellite, and the spacecraft itself was spinning at 2 rpm. To assemble a movie that wouldn’t make viewers dizzy, the star tracker had to capture a frame each time the camera was facing Earth at exactly the right instant. The frames were sent to Earth, where they were processed into video format. “
Video and text via NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
… a piece of brilliant recreational math from Lee Sallows.
S + U + N = 3 + 0 – 3 = 0
M + E + R + C + U + R + Y = -6 + 4 + 1 – 4 + 0 + 1 + 5 = 1
V + E + N + U + S = -2 + 4 – 3 + 0 + 3 = 2
E + A + R + T + H = 4 + 6 + 1 – 1 – 7 = 3
M + A + R + S = - 6 + 6 + 1 + 3 = 4
J + U + P + I + T + E + R = -8 + 0 + 7 + 2 – 1 + 4 + 1 = 5
S + A + T + U + R + N = 3 + 6 – 1 + 0 + 1 – 3 = 6
U + R + A + N + U + S = 0 + 1 + 6 – 3 + 0 + 3 = 7
N + E + P + T + U + N + E = -3 + 4 + 7 – 1 + 0 – 3 + 4 = 8
P + L + U + T + O = 7 – 5 + 0 – 1 + 8 = 9
E + R + I + S* = 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 10
Via Futility Closet
“Yellow-green light of 5500 Angstroms, for example, generally emanates from material of about 10,000 degrees F (5700 degrees C), which represents the surface of the sun. Extreme ultraviolet light of 94 Angstroms, on the other hand, comes from atoms that are about 11 million degrees F (6,300,000 degrees C) and is a good wavelength for looking at solar flares, which can reach such high temperatures. By examining pictures of the sun in a variety of wavelengths – as is done through such telescopes as NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) — scientists can track how particles and heat move through the sun’s atmosphere.”
I bet those 7 minutes must have been terrifying. Oh, and science FTW!!!
“A “real-time data translator” machine converted a Mariner 4 digital image data into numbers printed on strips of paper. Too anxious to wait for the official processed image, employees from the Telecommunications Section at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, attached these strips side by side to a display panel and hand colored the numbers like a paint-by-numbers picture. The completed image was framed and presented to JPL director, William H. Pickering. Mariner 4 was launched on November 28, 1964 and journeyed for 228 days to the Red Planet, providing the first close-range images of Mars.”