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The Saturn Fly-By

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the nice-place-to-visit dept.

NASA 83

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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Wouldn't play (2)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492086)

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

Re:Wouldn't play (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492716)

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

Re:Wouldn't play (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494574)

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.

Re:Wouldn't play (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494620)

Weird. For me, I can click but no video starts. Not even buffer. :( It only happens with embedded vimeo.com videos and this is a known issue.

Re:Wouldn't play (1)

dr.newton (648217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35498316)

I find this as well - Flash Block for Chrome prevents me from playing embedded Vimeo videos until I "Always allow flash on this site", then it plays fine.

Re:Wouldn't play (1)

Fastball (91927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492848)

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

Re:Wouldn't play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493184)

You have to allow vimeo.com and vimeocdn.com as well, then it works ...

Re:Wouldn't play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493824)

I am sure to get flamed, but I got HTML5 video fed to me in Safari 5.0.4 on OS X.6.6. It was fucking awesome to see and hear without the fan coming on. Shit like this needs to be on NASA TV channel and on the front page of their site. Not 2 hours of dead air watching the astronauts read news on the ISS.

Re:Wouldn't play (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35496882)

Has anyone got this in an actual open format? I don't use flash.

Wow! (3, Insightful)

stand (126023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492198)

Excuse me, I need to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Re:Wow! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492706)

One of the most goddamned beautiful things I've ever seen.

Re:Wow! (1)

udoschuermann (158146) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493286)

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.

Re:Wow! (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35500578)

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

That's no moon... (2)

goathumper (1284632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492214)

It's a space station! Or was I the only one who noticed? @~1:34

Re:That's no moon... (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492468)

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?

Re:That's no moon... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493948)

"Are you out of your Gort" would have been funnier.

Re:That's no moon... (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494922)

Wait a minute... that's no moon! No wait! Yes it is!

Re:That's no moon... (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494968)

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.

Re:That's no moon... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35496706)

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

The ring (0)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492224)

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.

Re:The ring (-1, Flamebait)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492462)

what a string of babbling bullshit. you strike me as the sort of person who thinks if they talk for long enough, they will turn into something more than a fucking idiot.

I thought he was rather clever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492546)

And you are just some elitist fuckwit.

Re:I thought he was rather clever. (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493876)

I read through their other comments - apparently that's their thing.

Re:I thought he was rather clever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493972)

And you are just some elitist fuckwit.

Is that "elitist" as in not appreciating the stringing together of words connected by what amounts to little more than a bad pun or two and thinking it's somehow special or mystical?

Re:The ring (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492794)

what a string of babbling bullshit. you strike me as the sort of person who thinks if they talk for long enough, they will turn into something more than a fucking idiot.

You, sir, obviously do not understand the beauty and gravitas of fine, mind altering chemicals.

Re:The ring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493246)

what a string of babbling bullshit. you strike me as the sort of person who thinks if they talk for long enough, they will turn into something more than a fucking idiot.

Ibid.

Re:The ring (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494958)

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.

So, what is it? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492286)

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? (4, Informative)

varcher (156670) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

It's as fake as the Moon landing! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492826)

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!

Re:So, what is it? (1)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492436)

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? (5, Informative)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:So, what is it? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#35497404)

I'm a cynic, you're a sad souless excuse for a human.

Re:So, what is it? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492502)

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.

Article made me hungry (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492306)

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

Wonderful. Mama makes excellent titanic enchiladas.

no cgi my ass (0)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492604)

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.

Re:no cgi my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492732)

Agreed. No fucking way Saturn's rings are 2D. Look at 1:40.

Re:no cgi my ass (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492988)

So it's crossing a 30m thick ring at 10000 km/s, what were you expecting to see?

Re:no cgi my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493138)

Nope. They really are that thin, about 10 meters. And, cassini is going at incredible speeds, too.

Re:no cgi my ass (2)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493356)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_Saturn [wikipedia.org]

You have a spacecraft flying through the rings at a minimum of several thousand miles per hour taking relatively low resolution photos (they don't have a Canon 1DS mk III or Nikon D3X with macro lens on board and can't stop the probe to take a perfect edge-on shot of the rings). Besides, I suspect that when you actually approach the rings up close enough to use a macro lens it would be very disperse, nebulous, much like when you walk up to a dense cloud bank on a mountain and as you approach it, it appears to vanish, even though when you are some distance away it may look opaque, and if the light is at your back, it will be very reflective.

Re:no cgi my ass (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492742)

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 (4, Interesting)

calderra (1034658) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Death star? (1)

j1976 (618621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492762)

Anyone else see the death star at 01:33?

Re:Death star? (1)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492874)

That's Mimas [wikipedia.org] , and it's similarity to the Death Star has long been noted.

Re:Death star? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35496744)

Even better is the thermal map [nasa.gov] ...

Oblig Star Wars (0, Redundant)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492788)

That's no moon.

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

i am humbled (2)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492818)

by how beautiful that was.

Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492850)

Actually, this story could be improved by adding a few more instances of the word "actual".

Confusing Trajectory (2)

joelholdsworth (1095165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493022)

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?

Re:Confusing Trajectory (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493466)

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.

Re:Confusing Trajectory (1)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493500)

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.

Re:Confusing Trajectory (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493558)

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?

Re:Confusing Trajectory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493878)

Because the rings are about as dense as small rocks flying above the freeway. Think as if you'd drive on the freeway and your windshield got occasionally hit by a small rock, scaring the shit out of you and perhaps leaving a little mark on the windshield but not much else. AFAIK, the rings are nothing much when you're up close. From a distance they're substantial, of course, but that's because you see a lot of stuff at once.

Re:Confusing Trajectory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35497434)

The orbital insertion maneuver went through the ring plane at the gap between the F and G rings. The particle density at the gap is very low (indeed even the outer ring is a very thin, wispy thing) and the spacecraft was oriented in a way to shield the vulnerable instruments with the antenna dish.

Re:Confusing Trajectory (2)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494746)

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 itself towards Enceladus on the outbound leg, again in the velocity direction. This kind of sequence seems like it would extract the most science from the various encounters.

As far as going through the rings, scale is deceiving and the density is so low the risk of impact was below some mission requirement threshold (probably on the order of 1e-5 or 1e-6).

Re:Confusing Trajectory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495064)

The probe is leading the target so that they arrive at a single point at the same time. It seems high speed to you because of the time lapse photography (that's all it really is folks).
 
In the case of a probe, with limited fuel to justify it's course, going what seems like the long way to a target is the norm. If the probe had unlimited fuel it would be a waste of time but that's not an option in the real world.
 
As for the rings? We have a really solid idea of what the rings are made of and the rings do have gaps. Between these two factors a probe could be made not only to miss a densly populated area of the rings but could also be built to withstand a known hazard. Nothing any experienced engineer doesn't consider if they're build a space probe to putting together specs on cheap Walmart lawn chairs. If you're an engineer and your mind isn't tuned to this kind of thinking chances are you won't be an engineer for long.

Typo (0)

asylumx (881307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493080)

You misspelled "Enchiladas" in the summary.

Re:Typo (1)

asylumx (881307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35500092)

Damn, tough crowd.

Doing 3D has made me too cynical (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493142)

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.

Re:Doing 3D has made me too cynical (1)

Drophet (2013758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493480)

"Agnus Dei".... wouldn't that be "Adagio for Strings"? Also used in Homeworld... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izQsgE0L450&feature=related [youtube.com] Cheers.

Re:Doing 3D has made me too cynical (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493574)

From Wikipedia entry for Adagio for Strings:

A choral version â" Agnus Dei â" can be heard in the soundtrack to the PC video game Homeworld

Re:Doing 3D has made me too cynical (1)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494034)

I knew I'd heard that music before. Now I need to find my old Homeworld CDs.

Re:Doing 3D has made me too cynical (1)

Anynomous Coward (841063) | more than 3 years ago | (#35497578)

A 'planet flyby' done ages ago (1997) in Povwin
Yes, the ring pops but doesn't look half bad; the pixelated stars are another matter though... linky [youtube.com]

Cassini passed through the rings? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493218)

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?

Re:Cassini passed through the rings? (5, Informative)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494920)

Cassini passed through the gap between the F and G rings.

That Song (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493262)

Whenever I hear this song all I can think of is those poor Higarens.

It's 2.5 D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493278)

If you (wait until it's not Slashdotted, then) go to outsideinthemovie.com, you'll see it's a project mostly done in Adobe After Effects, taking raw Cassini imagery and slicing it up and animating to create perspective. No texture mapping onto 3D objects, and not thousands of raw images lined up into a movie (they don't exist in that kind of quantity)

Pretty impressive given the tools he's got. He mentions on his site he's 'making an IMAX movie in his basement.'

Further proof that reality is unrealistic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493682)

If you posted this video without the supporting text, not only would viewers assume it was CG, they'd say it was bad CG.

As great as technology is, sometimes it spoils us, sadly diluting our perception of awe-inspiring things such as this.

Space lighting looks unrealistic (2)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494124)

I think the majority of the problem is that we are accustomed to seeing atmospheric effects in lighting. Space doesn't have that, so your light genuinely is a single point-source. The images thus look like what you would get from simplistic point-source renderers, with sharp shadows, no diffusion and no ambient light, which causes our minds to classify them as fake.

Run for your lives! (0)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494148)

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

Storm troopers. (1)

diitante (779203) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494362)

I saw the Deathstar!

First PPppp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494518)

Did anyone else see the death star? Oh my fucking god.

Since no one else bothered (1)

yerktoader (413167) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494612)

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.

Re:Since no one else bothered (1)

calderra (1034658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495088)

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.

Re:Since no one else bothered (1)

yerktoader (413167) | more than 3 years ago | (#35499292)

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.

Everything is gone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495278)

Kharak is burning.

Its a FAKE! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495958)

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 fly-through made from real photos that people are confusing for the real thing. You people need to start using your brains, for christ sake! Its unfortunate that people feel the need to misrepresent this video, and even worse that everyone just eats it up without questioning what they see.

It was created in order to inspire people and show them the beauty of our solar system. The website even states that this is an "...art film that takes audiences on a journey of the mind, heart and spirit..." but it holds absolutely NO scientific value what so ever, and should not be seen as an accurate portrayal of the Cassini mission.

Re:Its a FAKE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35499258)

The summaries are very misleading. They misrepresent this film as if its actual motion video taken from the probe's perspective. E.

This is the filmmaker here - yes, the way media picks up things is unfortunate and often misleading - but it's not a fake. The flythrough is not Cassini's - which can't be done as that image data does not exist. This is artistic flythrough of that particular photograph. A couple of senior Cassini scientists saw this clip (it's a work in progress, so it will be improved) and while it does have some minor problems, all the pixels in the images are from Cassini (and the mosaics made from the data) and no CGI (i.e. computer-generated imagery) or 3D modeling is used. The method is to arranging thousands of Cassini images in 3D space (I'm grossly oversimplifying) and design a flythrough that mostly maintains the illusion. This can be accomplished because of the volumes of images Cassini has taken.

The really hard part is doing this at IMAX resolutions (I'm working at 5600 x 4200 pixels) at 24fps.

Finally, although it's not a scientific visualization, the point of this art film is to inspire and move people who might otherwise avoid a science film and spark their interest in learning more.

Re:Its a FAKE! (1)

Dr. Gamera (1548195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35507036)

Johnny-come-lately here, but mod parent up!

Subtitled version of the Cassini flyby video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35498406)

Hi /.ers,

In case you have never before used Universal Subtitles service,
look how nice work someone do with it (all credits to Usub):
http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/videos/F6o1J2WBvU7k/info/

enjoy,
F.

that's it ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501054)

had someone rendered it in 3ds max, none of you would know the difference, since this "original" looks fake already

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