“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.
Found at Futility Closet and noted here for tagged archive.
In February 1962 John Glenn circled Earth three times on Friendship 7.
When he landed, he received a card from the International Flat Earth Research Society.
It said, “OK wise guy.”
Luckily there’s still at least one space agency still publishing photos of space (and space from Earth), the European Space Agency. The ESA has an incredible Observing the Earth archive that’s updated every week and each satelitte image is usually accompanied by a brief essay to explain a bit about what you’re looking at.
Now for the whoa part:
So, this past weekend, I watched this video. A few seconds in, I stopped it, turned off the lights, plunked on a pair of headphones, and then expanded the view to full HD mode. Then, under these conditions, I watched it fully.
It’s hard to explain but I found this video very moving. Moving for all sorts of reasons, I suppose. It was beautiful, the Earth was beautiful, but it was also an inspiring glimpse of much needed perspective. The Earth looked so small, especially when backdropped against the cosmos, and for reasons I can’t fully explain, the Earth also seemed so delicate – like it was obvious why we need to take good care of it.
Chalk it up to just another example of an interdisciplinary crossroad. Here we have footage that had a perfunctory scientific and technological basis, and yet some of the “data,” the “observations,” the footage that was collected, when translated by a skilled practitioner, clearly had a power beyond those acts of hypothesis generation and hypothesis support.
This is an interesting dynamic – how beautiful pictures, beautiful sounds, or beautiful words can inform the scientific endeavour, although it’s a dynamic that doesn’t appear to have a lot of research behind it. So maybe it’s worth taking a closer look? Or maybe not? After all, does looking too deeply, working out measurements or concocting algorithms to explain why I feel the way I feel when I watch this video, would this result in a loss of that wonderful perspective, or would it allow us to do it even better?
That is: “A nebula (from Latin: “cloud”; pl. nebulae or nebulæ, with ligature or nebulas) is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases.” (from Wikipedia)
Images compiled by Antony McAulay, via ScienceAlert
If you have some time to kill, you can even read up on a few of them…
Eagle Nebula, Carina Nebula, Cat’s Eye Nebula, Horsehead Nebula, Crab Nebula, Butterfly Nebula (NGC 6302), Eskimo Nebula, Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635), Cat’s Eye Nebula, Dumbbell Nebula, Helix Nebula, Hourglass Nebula, Medusa Nebula, Orion Nebula, Rosette Nebula, Tarantula Nebula, Trifid Nebula