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Saturn In All Its Glory 75

The Bad Astronomer writes "On Oct. 10, 2013, the Cassini spacecraft took a series of wide-angle pictures of Saturn from well above the plane of the rings. Croatian software developer and amateur astronomical image processor Gordan Ugarkovic assembled them into a stunning mosaic (mirrored on Flickr), showing the planet from a high angle not usually seen. There's a lot to see in this image, including the rings (and the gaps therein), moons, and the planet itself, including the remnants of a monstrous northern hemisphere storm that kicked off in 2010. It's truly wondrous."
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Saturn In All Its Glory

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  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:14AM (#45152487)

    Can you see Thuktun Flishithy ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:32AM (#45152675)

    Every time anyone mentions Saturn's hexagonal polar 'storm' they seem to imply that it's an unnatural phenomenon.

    It's not, nor as unusual as some used to think. In fact they've recreated it in the lab with nothing more than a spinning table.
    The speed and viscosity create oscillating eddies which interfere and create the polygonal shapes.

  • No stars (Score:5, Funny)

    by cyberjock1980 ( 1131059 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:34AM (#45152703)

    ZOMG There's no stars. This must be a NASA staged event and didn't really happen... on the moon.

    • ZOMG There's no stars. This must be a NASA staged event and didn't really happen... on the moon.

      Take a closer look towards Iapetus. There's a monolith there that's full of stars.

  • by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:35AM (#45152727) Homepage Journal
    the image is so large I had to push my chair some 4 feet back in order to appreciate it ( on a 24" screen ! ). Well done. May make it into my collection of ultimate Linux desktop images.
  • The Fly-by Movie (Score:5, Informative)

    by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:39AM (#45152787)
    For fly-by movie assembled from Cassini's images see here: []
    • by jovius ( 974690 )

      Gordan Ugarkovic is one of many contributing to the film In Saturn's Rings. [], of which that footage is from.

      • Great trailer, looking forward to the film's release.

      • Seems a somewhat dodgy movie if you ask me. It claims that it is "all real, no CGI of VFX". If so I would love to know how they filmed the footage at 1:15 in the video you linked. There is also a brief 2s footage around 1:58-2:00 which appears to show a star field shifting as you move towards a galaxy. If that is real footage I'd love to know where they got it since the parallax shifts appear quite large. I suppose it is possible that they superimposed a star field over the galaxy image and zoomed on on it
        • It's mutiplane photoanimation not CGI or VFX - like the Oxberry animation camera. Photoanimation is as old as cinema itself but the images themselves on are not computer generated - they are real photographs animated. There is far more alternation of what you see to create a color still in space photos that to animate using photoanimation. No one has used photoanimation to make a space documentary. The approach is textures maps, 3D models, 3D CGI and the normal VFX used. This footage uses none of those tech
          • Sorry but how is digitally manipulating a photograph to create a fake effect of parallax shift to imply superluminal motion any different that digitally manipulating a photographic texture by wrapping it onto a sphere to generate a faked computer fly-by? Just because a VFX technique is old does not mean it is not VFX. In fact arguably the 3D model+texture mapping might produce an accurate simulation of a real photo whereas I highly doubt the fake parallax shot accurately calculated the parallax shift based
            • >>3D model+texture mapping I work in VFX as well and this is simply not true when have a 2D texture map and 3D model. Incredible distortion and fakery of the texture image is required - this only works if you create new texture maps i.e, completely fake. I use mutiplane animation precisely because it the ONLY animation technique with photographs that allows me to leave the images undistorted. Furthermore, no paint or cloning is done - we only use it when we have multiple views of the data. And, I us
    • by pavon ( 30274 )

      Just to be clear, since the link isn't: this isn't a real time-lapse video of Cassini flying as the movie shows. It is an artificial flyby made using images that Cassini has taken, and then manipulating them to create the appearance of changing perspective. Some of it is pretty realistic while others parts are are not (like having all the moons so big and close together in one shot). Still really cool.

      • This is the filmmaker here. Gordan is one of the main image processors for the film. This photographs is also "artificial" as Cassini has 1 megapixel black and white cameras. He did quite a bit of geometry and color work to make this image. You are correct the film is not what Cassini sees either. But you can see a video I posted that shows exactly what Cassini does see. [] The technique I'm using is not CGI - it's a technique as old as cinema - multiple plane photoa
    • What is the classical music in that video starting at :58? I love that piece.
  • FAKE! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:41AM (#45152793) Homepage
    FAKE! Come on, this thing is obviously 'shopped like crazy. The shadow on the rings is much to crisp compared to the shadow on the planet. Plus the ring shadow is entirely opaque. To make it realistic they should have given it some transparency so you could see the rings faintly behind it. Also, there's color banding in the "planet", and some weird hexagonal artifact that looks like this thing was originally rendered as a 3D model with bad tessellation. Go back to drawing Tippy to get into art school, you pathetic hack.
    • I just read the article about amplituhedrons, which say that space and time are but an illusion. Saturn, space, time, gravity etc. may all be illusions.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Lunchtime especially so.

  • by Quakeulf ( 2650167 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @11:11AM (#45153137)
    It seems that the trend her on /. is to reply less to space-related posts, and rather indulge in trivial online debates over something that happened on Facebook and whether or not choice is a good thing for Android.

    This disheartens me. I have logged in again after a long period of inactivity to state my interest in space-related posts here and I would like to see more of that and less of trivial drama that may or may not be related to stuff that matters.

    I am prepared to be downmodded for this but I am a willing martyr to get the point across.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd hope that it's more a case of most space-related posts being read as "oh, that's cool" and most click-bait posts being read with "I dogmatically agree/disagree with that claim!!!!!111!!!15"

      Bah, who am I kidding? Everyone's too busy arguing that Ubuntu 13.10 will kill Microsoft that no one cares about anything else.

    • by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @11:57AM (#45153603)
      It doesn't help that there is now so much light pollution that most people have either never seen the Milky Way, or see such skies so rarely that they haven't had a chance to become personally anquanted with the night sky in any real depth.
      • You make an excellent point. After moving back to Norway from London I found the skies are a lot clearer there in general and that made me more interested in what is happening outside the limits of our stratosphere. Sadly not many people get to see the starry sky in all its glory due to pollution, and I guess that is a thing that doesn't help your thoughts and mind.
      • My most savoured memory of a recent trip to Australia was seeing Saturn through a telescope, rings and all. Second was seeing the Jewel Box cluster [] about 20 seconds later.
    • Alright. You got your +5. Now what do we actually talk about? The Saturn fly-by vimeo that someone linked to is 2 years old. Cool and all but what does one say? For me, a spacecraft flying past planets is about as interesting as the ISS going around and around and around the Earth.

      Personally, I'm interested in trying to define what gravity is []. And to resolve some of the greatest problems in physics []. Anyone else wanting to discuss this?

      • by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @12:16PM (#45153793)

        Alright. You got your +5. Now what do we actually talk about?

        For starters, we could discuss how many of the features seen in the image are visible in a small telescope and how to go about seeing stuff. This is supposed to be a curious, techy, crowd. I'm surprised the small telescope question comes up so rarely on stories such as this one. In fact, quite a lot is visible on Saturn: major storms, cloud bands, rings, at least the most major ring division (Cassini division), shadow of planet on rings, shadow of rings on planet, coloration in rings, change of ring tilt during Saturn's year, half a dozen of the brightest moons (the largest of which can appear as a tiny disk). A lot of people here have kids and might like to show them this stuff to pique their interest. Saturn won't be easily visible in Q2 of 2014 but Jupiter is becoming progressively more accesible (rises late right now but earlier each night) and there's loads to see on it: moons, eclipses, loads of storms (inc. great red spot), rotation of the planet is very fast and quite evident over a one hour time course, etc. It appears much larger than Saturn and changes all the time, with even whole cloud bands appearing and disappearing over periods of months. You don't need expensive gear or dark skies to see this stuff.

        Other than that, we could also discuss the hexagon, as mentioned by a link placed by a previous post. Of course there's also the stuff you mention, but that's not so directly related to this story. Not that this should discourage the topics, of course.

        • Good points. It is a shame that 82.6% of Americans live in cities [] and have little chance of seeing much more than the Big Dipper, let alone moons on Jupiter. I'm sure this puts a pretty big damper on telescope tech talk on anything but a specialized forum. Still, talk away and I'll try to learn something.
          • Good points. It is a shame that 82.6% of Americans live in cities [] and have little chance of seeing much more than the Big Dipper, let alone moons on Jupiter. I'm sure this puts a pretty big damper on telescope tech talk on anything but a specialized forum. Still, talk away and I'll try to learn something.

            You can see the moons of Jupiter through a telescope even from the city centre. The moons are damn bright and will punch through light pollution. City lights obliterate galaxies. The brighter nebulae will be visible even from terrible light pollution, but they will be much diminished. However, the real thing that's lost is the sense of awe you get from looking up at a dark sky with the naked eye. Even the most jaded person will STFU and gawp.

            • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

              I've got two telescopes, but I need neither to see the Pleiades, the Orion Nebula, and the Andromeda Galaxy, all from the middle of Nottingham. I never actually truly appreciated the night sky until last November when I was in Darkest Herefordshire and with the Manor grounds at Bodenham in complete darkness and the nearest village 12 miles away, the sky took on a whole new level of stunning.

              No immediate plans to go back to Bodenham, but if/when I do I hope it's during late autumn/winter months again so I ca

    • by ashpool7 ( 18172 )

      Well there's not really an argument as to if a giant picture of Saturn is cool or worthy of attention on /. so... not much to say?

      • There are more than enough amateur astronomers out there. Or so, I hoped. Did they all turn amateur politicians and armchair generals now?
    • I'm with you about wanting more space and other science discussions. Why not post something on the topic of this story and try to get a discussion going? Try to master the art of stimulating productive Slashdot discussion (admittedly, I haven't yet, but I've seen others do it). Actively fight back against mundane, idle chit-chat.
    • I share your regret that stuff like this doesn't provoke more excitement. I think in some ways science (like so many things in life) can be a victim of its own success. For example, the proliferation of gorgeous space photos resulting from HST has had a spoiling effect on the populace. To many, pretty space pictures like this have been a dime a dozen for over 20 years; its uniqueness is lost on the unwashed masses (and even many of us nerds). The same thing happened with the shuttle; at first, launches were
    • I think that mostly reflects people's perceptions of their own knowledge on the subject. Most people don't know enough, and don't think they know enough, to say much more than "ooh, shiny!" But everyone knows a bit about Facebook and Android and such, or at least they think they know such things, so they feel qualified to post their thoughts on the matter.

      For this post, if every /. reader posted the discussion would likely resemble the dialogue of the "space sphere" from Portal 2.
    • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @12:40PM (#45154081) Journal

      ^beat me to it.

      I was simply going to post:
      Climate change: 8957 posts.
      Android app about sex: 3692 posts
      Republicans are poopy heads: 1244 posts
      Post about an absolutely stunning image from a brilliantly-designed massive probe doing amazing work in the depths of space at LEAST a light-hour away from our planet: 34 posts.

    • I think there are at least two competing issues - the first is that, in large part, space has become "boring" for many, for lack of a better word. We've spent years and years circling in LEO with shuttle and ISS, without much "wow factor" to show for it. There is a certain pessimism that comes with relying on a space agency that has its priorities shifted with each and every administration change (and my post history here certainly reflects that, as I often comment on space-related articles and not many o

  • It could of been about the glory in Uranus.
  • There appears to be a rainbow on the faint outer ring (top, just right of center) when viewed at full resolution. Is that for real?
    • by Punko ( 784684 )
      If memory serves, artifacts like this are caused generally from the timing difference from the 3 colour images that were superimposed on each other to get the composite colour image.

      Other Saturn images are similar artifacts. The astronomy site talks about them on another Saturn picture page.
  • that's my new desktop. Gorgeous.

  • So, has anyone tried to play it?

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