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NASA Space Science

The Saturn Fly-By 83

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the nice-place-to-visit dept.
Jamie noted that today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is actually a video of Saturn built by compiling actual photographs taken by Cassini in 2004. Unlike most videos of this type, this isn't actually 3D animation, these are the actual photos (albeit "digitally tweaked, cropped"). Great views of the planet, as well as Titan, Mimas and Enceladus.
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The Saturn Fly-By

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  • by The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:29AM (#35492086)

    I couldn't get the video to play at the link in TFA. But this one did: http://vimeo.com/11386048 [vimeo.com]

    • by antdude (79039)

      Do you have FlashBlock extension? If so, then it is doing that. :(

      • Do you have FlashBlock extension? If so, then it is doing that. :(

        I do, but FlashBlock doesn't keep you from playing Flash, it just makes you start it by clicking on it first. This is what happened at the link I gave as well, except the video played. The link in TFA just kept saying it was loading.

    • by Fastball (91927)

      Same for me. The vimeo link worked. Using Chrome 10.0.648.133 on Mac OS X 10.6.6.

    • Has anyone got this in an actual open format? I don't use flash.
  • Wow! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stand (126023) <stan.dyck@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:34AM (#35492198) Homepage Journal
    Excuse me, I need to pick my jaw up off the floor.
    • One of the most goddamned beautiful things I've ever seen.

    • Indeed, I'm in awe. To think that we can send a probe that far away, have it perform gravitational swings by all these moons, take measurements and images, assemble them into a thing of such beauty, and convey the scale of the Saturn system to be viewed here at home in comfort ... well, it makes me glad to be alive to have seen such a thing!

      I, for one, would like to offer my congratulations and my thanks to everyone who has had a hand in making any aspect of this whole thing possible.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      I'm with you. Just breathtaking. Nice music, too.

  • It's a space station! Or was I the only one who noticed? @~1:34
    • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:55AM (#35492468) Journal
      You're asking a forum full of nerds who collectively have seen Star Wars over a trillion times if we noticed that Mimas looks like the Death Star? Are you out of your gourd?
    • It's a space station!

      Or was I the only one who noticed? @~1:34

      Duh! What did you think happened to the planet between Mars and Jupiter? Too bad they miscalculated the energy needs of the main gun and then got stuck in Saturn's orbit, a long time ago... Lucas changed the location (supposedly to protect "the innocent"). But as you know, he's prone to doing things like that. Mostly the changing, not so much protecting.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Nope. It's even been noted in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

  • It always surprises me how thin the ring is. BTW, Saturn, the Lord of the Ring? Saturday, I wonder if that had a special meaning to Tolkien. So, how is Peter's Hobbit going on? These movie delays always surprise me.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Woah.
      And you know. They are rings but they dont ring. Heavy.
      I mean they are rings but they are not ringing. This is some deep stuff.

      I'm hungry.

  • I'm not sure I understand what's happened here. It certainly looks like a computer animation!

    Is each frame a separate photo? Just cropped to line up with the previous one, cleaned up and colour-treated to match?
    Or is there a lot more artifice going on?

    • Re:So, what is it? (Score:5, Informative)

      by varcher (156670) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:51AM (#35492398)

      It's a bit more. Each original picture was used as the base of a very short sequence (basically, anywhere from a dozen to a hundred frames), with all the work being done in linking each still into the entire sequence.

      The magic is that it appears seamless.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They didn't even get the disc in 3D while flying through them - this is AT BEST a 3D rendering with TEXTURES taken from the Cassini flyby - though frankly its so bad and yet marketed otherwise in a fashion that makes me call in question whether or not "Cassini" was real or just a ploy to disguise a nuclear satellite. And I (before seeing this) thought the Moon landing was real!

    • Agreed, it just looks like CGI. There's no way each frame is a photo, otherwise somebody would have put this video together a long time ago. I think they're interpolating all the stuff in-between the photos, so basically we're just watching photos be rotated and zoomed to meet the next one set to overly dramatic music. I'd kinda just rather look at the photographs.
      • Re:So, what is it? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bucc5062 (856482) <bucc5062@gmaiMONETl.com minus painter> on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @12:13PM (#35492738)

        ftfa,

        Do note that several thousand layers of many Cassini photographs were animated to make the fly-through work without any 3D CGI. The saturation is off due to lack of Flash Player ICM support.

        The initial article makes a similar statement. These are photos that have been taken by Cassini over the course of its tour of Saturn. The artist has made the effort to color match, light match, image match the thousands of shots to create the final product. From what I read (and yes, I did read both the articles) this has not been an easy process.

        For myself, I am blow away by the beauty of the universe ,and the minds that not only put Cassini there to take these images, but the mind who could seen them pieced together. The only thing better would have been to be in a spacecraft that could fly around Saturn and show me even more. Simply beautiful.

      • I'm a cynic, you're a sad souless excuse for a human.
    • Is each frame a separate photo? Just cropped to line up with the previous one, cleaned up and colour-treated to match?

      Yep. That's exactly what's going on.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Great views of the planet, as well as Titan, Mimas and Enceladus.

    Wonderful. Mama makes excellent titanic enchiladas.

  • thats a fucking lie. that is computer animation, just with real still photos overlaid for the texture. you cant wave some still photos around like that and pretend its actual sequences of photos strung together in a film without people calling you out on your bullshit.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The best proof that this is fake is probably at 0:30, where 7 moons are within their angular diameters of each other. What was the date of this extraordinary alignment, so I can confirm it in Celestia?

      • Re:no cgi my ass (Score:4, Interesting)

        by calderra (1034658) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @03:12PM (#35495096)
        I can't believe that Slashdot is so uninformed as to believe this tripe (oh wait I can... sssiiigghhhh). This is a 3d animation, with photos from Cassini used as source. During the big zoom-in around 1:30, not a single pixel of the planet moves. Those massive storms blow quickly, the planet was rotating, etc etc.
  • Anyone else see the death star at 01:33?

  • Oblig Star Wars (Score:1, Redundant)

    by devnullkac (223246)

    That's no moon.

    Right there at 1:30. No getting around it.

  • by digitalsushi (137809) <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @12:21PM (#35492818) Journal

    by how beautiful that was.

  • I don't quite understand the trajectory of the probe. For example in the last shot, it swoops past Mimas zooming straight toward the Saturnian surface, then appears to change direction curving vertically, passing through the rings (why no hail of ice damage?), then swoops back around and turns around heading toward Encledatus at top speed. How is this even possible?
    • Some of the shots looked like the camera's field of view was shrinking. Perhaps the camera can be rotated, combine that with varying levels of zoom and you could easily mistake forward motion for pan / zoom.
    • by NitroWolf (72977)

      I don't quite understand the trajectory of the probe. For example in the last shot, it swoops past Mimas zooming straight toward the Saturnian surface, then appears to change direction curving vertically, passing through the rings (why no hail of ice damage?), then swoops back around and turns around heading toward Encledatus at top speed. How is this even possible?

      Yeah, that was what I was wondering. If that's only from pictures, it wasn't from a sequence of pictures that are in order.

    • I'd be very interested in knowing why.

      Also, how come it isn't dangerous for the probe to cross the rings at very high speed?

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      Keep in mind that the attitude of the spacecraft is independent of the trajectory (well, mostly), so what you're seeing are the combinations of attitude changes and and position changes. Without your inner ear telling you which way you're pointing, its difficult to keep your bearings straight.

      It seems like on approach its focused on Mimas, which is mostly in the velocity direction, while as it goes through the close flyby it moves to observe Saturn and is pointed in radial direction, and then repoints itse

  • by asylumx (881307)
    You misspelled "Enchiladas" in the summary.
  • I keep thinking "What is that, a sphere with a lambert shader? Some kind of procedural ring texture on a plane? Might want to add some rocks while passing through the ring so it doesn't just pop. Those shadows are way too sharp, might want to turn on raytracing for those."

    It sucks that I can't appreciate this properly and my brain just keeps interpreting it all as fake because my only other reference for something like this are 3D renders.

    Also, I've loved Agnus Dei ever since hearing it in Homeworld.

  • The video makes it look like it does. Or is this a consequence of the zoom factor used, and did Cassini pass the equator outside of the rings?

  • Call Luke Skywalker! You can see the death star at 1:30!

  • There's some debate here over whether the video is CG or used CG in conjunction with the photos. The NASA Astronomy Pic of the Day article mentions that this video is a part of an upcoming IMAX film called Outside In [outsideinthemovie.com], who's website has some further explanation on how they're making the film. Of course, the APOD article is a paragraph in length, so an entire website might be a bit much for some to read.
    • by calderra (1034658)
      If there will be a final product using real images, this is just the storyboard. Especially the part where all the moons are magically aligned in one perfect shot- total BS. It is flabbergasting that the Slashdot audience is this gullib- oh, wait, yeah I do.
      • The entire thing is made of real images, just composited using the software listed on their site. So there are effects; for example they are using After Effects.

        The images are not rendered CG, however the movie is intended to be a visual poetry piece a` la Baraka. I imagine they cut the images and lined them up for dramatic effect. No real conspiracy there.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The summaries are very misleading. They misrepresent this film as if its actual motion video taken from the probe's perspective. Even the video itself claims no CGI was used, but CGI WAS used! The website even tells us how it was made: "Using hundreds of thousands of still images manipulated to create full motion, using “2.75D” photographic fly-through technology." That's why there are so many errors in perspective and the probe's velocity and position don't make sense. This is a neat FANTASY fl

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