Feel like getting the heck outta town? Enjoy a soothing and thought-provoking rendezvous with the planet Jupiter in this amazing video made from more than 1,000 images taken by 91 amateur astronomers around the world between December 19, 2014 and March 31, 2015. Some of the images you’ve probably seen in this blog, but only individually, not chasing one another in continuous motion to create an awe-inspiring view of Jupiter’s dynamic weather.
A Journey to Jupiter
Peter Rosén, a photographer and digital artist in Stockholm, Sweden, recently released the film/video titled A Journey to Jupiter. After collecting the images, colleagues Christoffer Svenske and Johan Warell remapped them into cylindrical projections. Rosén then color-corrected, stacked and stitched them into 54 complete maps. To slow down the motion when they were run as a movie, he interpolated (created additional) images for a total of 107. Rosén went a step further and used the photos to create polar projections, so we can view the planet’s rotation and weather from either pole on.
The whole thing took more than a year to complete! He clearly used the best amateur photos available because the resolution is phenomenal, almost spacecraft-like. We see the motion of Jupiter’s cloud belts, white oval cyclones (storms) and even the rotation of the Great Red Spot.
I’m amazed at how much more rapidly the planet’s equatorial features rotate compared to those closer to the poles. Granted, Jupiter’s not like the solid Earth, where Australia and the rest of the continents stay in the same relative places with every spin our planet makes. Because Jupiter has no solid surface, its gaseous atmosphere rotates at different rates depending up latitude. The difference in rotation times between the equatorial zone (the fast-moving clouds along the center) and higher latitudes is 6 minutes yet seems so much faster in the video. I suspect this is so not only because of “differential rotation,” but also because some belts and features are moving from west to east exactly opposite others moving east to west.
In all, the photographs cover 250 rotations of the giant planet which Rosén accelerated one million times, so we wouldn’t have to sit for hours. The music selection is a good one and makes for a pleasant, contemplative background. Turn down the lights, click open the video, expand to full screen and let go …
If you are interested in the techniques involved in assembling and animating the maps, Rosén encourages viewers to see his first project, Voyager 3.
** If you’d like to know more about Jupiter and the other planets and how to find them, pick up a copy of my recently published book, Night Sky with the Naked Eye, at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It covers lots of different night sights — no equipment needed!