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Juno Looks Back, Photographs Earth-Moon System

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-tread-upon-specks dept.

Earth 100

astroengine writes "Looking back as it zooms through interplanetary space, less than a month into its 445-million mile, five-year journey to the gas giant Jupiter, NASA's spacecraft Juno captured a portrait of the Earth and moon. Juno was 6 million miles away at the time. 'This is a remarkable sight people get to see all too rarely,' said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. 'This view of our planet shows how Earth looks from the outside, illustrating a special perspective of our role and place in the universe. We see a humbling yet beautiful view of ourselves.'"

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Huh? (-1, Troll)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262344)

What the fuck? It's just a couple of dots. Is this some kind of performance art?

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262368)

nasa is exploring inkscape

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262376)

"Juno was 6 million miles away at the time"
For reference, Geostationary orbit is about 22,000 miles. What kind of photo's were you expecting to get?

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262498)

What kind of photo's were you expecting to get?

I don't know, one worthy of being mentioned on /. I guess. Informing us that Juno is 6 million miles away, and that it's able to send us pictures is as impressive as actually seeing this picture.

Re:Huh? (1)

mvar (1386987) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262424)

it cost $700 million they could at least put a decent camera on-board the spacecra....oh wait....

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262462)

You see "just a couple of dots", I see 2 bit porn! Hell's yeah! Look at those puppies, all white, and small.

Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262346)

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (5, Insightful)

whyloginwhysubscribe (993688) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262644)

For me, it is also a reminder of the distance between earth and the moon. It shows what a real achievement it was to get there, and I suppose why we haven't done it as much more recently.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263248)

That is what I was thinking when I saw the picture.
Most diagrams/Pictures of the Moon and Earth are not to scale or angled in a way that makes the distance distorted. While I know this is the fact, to actually see it to scale really puts it in perspective.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (2)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37267546)

Err, what are you guys basing the scale on? The photo is arbitrarily cropped with no other item in view to help you gauge scale.

Also, the moon landing is a pet peeve of mine. Its moon landings. There were several manned and unmanned as well.

For fun, the moon is 238k miles away. The circumference of the earth on the equator is 25k. So if you were to fly around around the earth on the equator you'd have to do this about 9 times to get to the moon. Far, yes, but not ridiculously far.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37268568)

We base our scale on earths diameter -- it's 2D on the picture, it's not a dimensionless point.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37269974)

Diameter of the earth compared to how distant the moon is. You don't need a Galactic Ruler to gauge this distance.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37270000)

Err, what are you guys basing the scale on?

The Earth and Moon theirselves? GP points out most images including both tend not to show the scale of the distance of the two bodies relative to their own sizes.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37270842)

Err, what are you guys basing the scale on?

The size of the Earth can be used for scale.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276252)

Err, what are you guys basing the scale on?

The scale is evident thanks to the relative sizes of the bodies and the space between them. And they are correct, the photo definitely encourages appreciation of the distances involved. The cropping you mention makes it much easier to apprehend the scale.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 2 years ago | (#37269914)

I once saw a series of diagrams showing the various orbits around the Earth. It included the Moon, to scale. I was surprised at how far out the Moon's orbit was, and also surprised at how far out geosynchronous orbits are.

Wish I could find that diagram now.

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262910)

Like torches in the aeon flow
Even suns flicker and die
Forgotten as the ages grow
Eternity is not for you

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (1)

wye43 (769759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263226)

No - no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should've sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful... I had no idea.

Re:Brings to mind the Galaxy Song (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263716)

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

One of the better bits Eric Idle came up with.

Re:Brings to mind the Galaxy Song (2)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265376)

In true nerd fashion it is indeed my favorite song that Eric Idle ever wrote. It is amazing how he was able to capture our utter insignificance in 24 lines, all while rhyming and ending with a punchline.

Aw shit, I'm gushing aren't I?

Re:Brings to mind the Pale Blue Dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37265538)

I agree. But it would've been nice to have a closer up picture, too. Say, from 1 or 2 million miles away.

This is either the most amazing photo... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262354)

...or someone opened photoshop, chose a black background and tapped their stylus on the canvas twice. Someone should have given Juno a 2 megapixel camera if we're supposed to be impressed by its photo skills. No wonder nobody in government is pushing the space program. Forty years ago, we got pictures of people on the moon. This year we get two dots on a black background.

Re:This is either the most amazing photo... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262744)

No kidding. You'd think that with all the billions of dollars that we throw down the incompetent NASA rathole, they'd put a decent camera on the thing, but I guess that money had to be used to line some contractor's pocket...

Why won't they just put NASA out of its misery? Oh that's right, there has to be some place for engineer washouts and corrupt managers to work.

Re:This is either the most amazing photo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262918)

What's the matter? Did you get cut from selection because of your drug habit? Diddums. Fuck off.

Re:This is either the most amazing photo... (2)

JasoninKS (1783390) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263024)

Really? You think if I take your 12MP Kodak several million miles away it's going to take crystal clear pictures? Come on. It's 6 million miles for crying out loud. It's not like you're going to zoom in and see continents.

Re:This is either the most amazing photo... (1)

suso (153703) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263346)

Actually, I usually do a little investigating on images on my own just for fun. I don't doubt that NASA did these things, but it is interesting that the image has a photoshop signature and a timestamp of just 3 hours prior to the article being published. So it wasn't just the raw image from NASA? I also pulled it into GIMP and was interested that the background was so uniform a color. In fact, its all exactly the same color everywhere except for the dots. Take it in yourself and adjust the brightness and contrast, then you can use the magic select with a threshold of zero. It selects everything except the dots, which tells me that the background color is completely uniform, as if created by a fill. I know photography in space is weird, but I would think with any photograph you'd have a few off color artifacts in the image.

On the other hand, there are artifacts around the dots themselves and the color of the dots isn't uniformly white. Still, somewhat suspicious.

Re:This is either the most amazing photo... (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263898)

If only we had the technology to do such research when they faked the moon landings .....

Re:This is either the most amazing photo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271424)

Give me a break. Obviously, they used Photoshop for two purposes: to convert/resize the image for the web, and to clean up noise artifacts. I have no idea what kind of imaging sensor is on this spacecraft, but I have no doubt its images do contain noise. That isn't real. And that, therefore, can be taken out in post-processing without altering the data of interest.

And for the people whining that they should just slap any old digital camera on there, I have two words: radiation hardening.

I don't think so (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262360)

Fake! Where are those orbital lines you always see in diagrams?

Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262362)

We traveled that distance a few times almost 50 years ago now. Imagine if we had done it for science instead of hatred of another country.

Sad :/

Re:Sigh (4, Interesting)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262778)

We would be 1000 behind. Most of the tech is made to kill other people. Non violent tech was used for political posturing and gain power over some one else or to get in to some one pants.
OR
Guy with big stick beats other guy. Smart guy controls guy with big stick to beat other guy. Other guy invents big stick protection. Smart guy invents stick protection legislation. Guy with big stick enforces legislation with HUGH stick. Smart guy smiles
Please find a point in there about something. It makes me sad to read it back. proofing abandedned,

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37263828)

Guy with big stick enforces legislation with HUGH stick.

Is that HUGH GRANT's stick?

Re:Sigh (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265414)

It's actually Hugh Grant himself. His birth-name was Hugh Stickinthemud. He went with Grant for his stage-name though. Not that it fooled anyone.

Oblig. (0)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262364)

Hey! I can see my house from here!

Re:Oblig. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262556)

After many zooms and enhances. Photoshop Hollywood Edition (HE) can do it!

Re:Oblig. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263300)

Hey I want that algorithm. In a few years we can have CPUs that can process that stuff in real time. and we can just send a stream of 32 bit pixels over the net and we can watch real time movies.

It reminds me of a compression algorithm I though of when I was a kid, when I only had basic math skills where If I just recorded the number of iterations of a brute force attack and stored it on Base256 then I could save a lot of space... Later on I realized that the data is a base 256 number (in bytes) and the iteration would be exactly the same amount of iterations.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262434)

What I want to know is what kind of Wi does this thing have? I can barely bring up a web page on my ipod touch 50 feet away from my house!

Are you kidding me? (1)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262508)

You can barely see anything in the picture!

From TFA:

"This is a remarkable sight people get to see all too rarely," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "This view of our planet shows how Earth looks from the outside, illustrating a special perspective of our role and place in the universe. We see a humbling yet beautiful view of ourselves."

Are they about to sell this picture to a modern art museum?

Re:Are you kidding me? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262534)

Come on.. there are literally dozens of planets in that picture.. oh wait.. those are just dust particles on my monitor..

Re:Are you kidding me? (2)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263290)

You can barely see anything in the picture!

That's the point. It's a different perspective from our everyday self-centered view of the world.

C3PO's comment (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262510)

"The damage doesn't look as bad from out here..."

Trig (1)

frisket (149522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262530)

I know my trigonometry is a bit off these days, and we have no indication here of zoom, but from 6M miles away, I would have expected the earth and the moon to appear closer together; in fact I would have expected them to be virtually indistinguishable.

Re:Trig (2)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262576)

It's roughly:

RadToDeg (ArcTan (0.384 / 6*1.609))) = 5.87 degree

If you are sitting behind similar monitor and font settings as mine, it would be like staring at

O------------o

Re:Trig (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263046)

Rule of thumb (pun intended) of angular measurement for most people with their hands extended at full arm's length:

* pinkie finger subtends about 1 degree
* first three fingers (index to ring) held tightly together subtend about five degrees.
* fist subtends about ten degrees.
* fingers spread into span subtend about 25 degrees.

My guess is that somebody realized the spacecraft would be positioned to capture a picture of the earth and moon with nice angular separation. Had their luck been ideal, they'd have caught the Earth and Moon at close to maximum angular separation, but while the spacecraft was somewhat closer so the limbs of the planets were sharper. Then the photo would serve as an illustration of all the relative scales concerned. Of course the camera might not have a wide enough angle or enough resolution for that.

Re:Trig (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262578)

The moon is about 250,000 miles from the Earth. At this distance (atan(250000/6000000)) the angular separation is about 2.3. Compare this to the angular diameter of the moon when you look up at night (0.5) and they would still be easily resolvable to the naked eye.

Re:Trig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262580)

          Y
        O U
      S H O
    U L D G
  E T A N E
Y E T E S T

Re:Trig (2)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262604)

The moon orbits at ~240,000 miles. That seems like the right angular distance for a triangle of 6,000,000 x 240,000 (25:1) You can distinguish two things that are an inch apart from 25 inches away, right? Further, the earth's diameter is ~8000 miles, and the distance from the earth to the moon in that photo is approx 30x the width of the earth.

The picture is either cropped or zoomed (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262770)

Fairly simple. Given the poor resolution however I suspect its cropping. I would have expected better frankly. In space 6M miles really isn't very far.

Re:The picture is either cropped or zoomed (2)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265078)

That's probably because it doesn't have a particularly good camera. We've got lots of good pictures from Galileo -- the purpose of this mission is to map the gravity, magnetic and radiation fields. The mission is power-starved and in a really nightmarish radiation environment, so the only camera is intended solely for outreach purposes, and that one won't last long (7 orbits) within that radiation.

Remember this is not a flagship mission, meant to do anything and everything. It's a relatively cheap mission selected through a competitive process, and thus is highly focused on its particular science goals.

Re:The picture is either cropped or zoomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37266166)

Fairly simple. Given the poor resolution however I suspect its cropping. I would have expected better frankly. In space 6M miles really isn't very far.

Say that with three kids in the back seat ...

I would feel humbled (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262618)

If it wasn't that the reason it is a white spot instead of a blue one that this shot is capturing the light reflecting of my white belly as I try to catch some of the dutch summer.

Some are born great, some have greatness trust upon them, I have my own moon!

Take your humility and suck it (2)

sir1real (1636849) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262640)

"We see a humbling yet beautiful view of ourselves.'"

Once again they want me to feel humble. Quite to the contrary, that little dot is a very small part of the universe and yet it's the only place we know for sure that life exists. That makes me feel pretty special.

Re:Take your humility and suck it (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262672)

It would make me feel special too, if it were the only place life exists. Considering the size of the universe it's very very very likely that we're not the only ones.

Yes, we don't know for sure. I guess it makes us special, in the retarded sense, that we still don't know much about even our neighborhood and are arrogant enough to think lack on knowledge makes us somehow "special".

Re:Take your humility and suck it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37263758)

That makes me feel pretty special.

That. And the short school bus.

Better view from Mars Express (5, Informative)

bjomape (1534745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262670)

The Mars Express spacecraft got a better (IMHO) shot a few years back: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/express/newsroom/pressreleases/20030717a_image01.html [nasa.gov]

Re:Better view from Mars Express (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37262904)

True. That is a much better picture. It did get me wondering about the direction these pictures are taken from. In the picture from the Mars Express you clearly see how only a portion of the Earth and the Moon are lit. Obviously the side facing the Sun. So having an idea of where all three of them are relative to the viewing angle also gives an idea of which direction the probe is heading. In the Juno picture you see an almost perfectly round shape. That would imply the sunlight comes from behind the camera. In other words the probe is heading almost straight towards the Sun. Do they intend to make a slingshot around one of the inner planets before heading for Jupiter?

Re:Better view from Mars Express (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265474)

In other words the probe is heading almost straight towards the Sun.

No it's heading towards Jupiter. They just used the flash. Duh.

Re:Better view from Mars Express (4, Informative)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37263106)

Back in 1977 when Voyager 1 began its' journey, it took this classic snapshot:
http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/The-Earth-Moon-System1.jpg [universetoday.com]

Re:Better view from Mars Express (1)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264040)

I'd like to see an image from something headed toward the sun, looking back at Earth. Showing a lighted sphere on both Earth and the Moon, where the moon is at a position to show distance, aka 90* angle relative to earth, between the image taken and the moon.

Alright NASA, you have your task. Minions assemble! [youtube.com]

Re:Better view from Mars Express (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264552)

You mean, exactly like the linked image from the summary?

Re:Better view from Mars Express (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265092)

You mean, exactly like the linked image from the summary?

You mean that isn't a shot of Juno on the opposite side of earth from the sun, presumably taken with a really, really big flash?

Re:Better view from Mars Express (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265330)

Two really, really big flashes. You don't want Earth to have red-eye (it hates when people mistake it for Mars).

Re:Better view from Mars Express (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272202)

Why are the terminators (the dividing line between the illuminated and the unilluminated part of the moon's or a planet's disk) on the Moon and the Earth not parallel?

Re:Better view from Mars Express (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37265920)

I like this one a bit better. Its like the furthest away you can be while still being able to clearly see the moon. Sobering.

Re:Better view from Mars Express (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#37267082)

Remember though, Juno is not an imaging mission. Its only camera is there for outreach purposes, will die a quick death once it gets into orbit because of the radiation environment, and thus they didn't spend much money on it.

Juno's mission is to map the gravity field, radiation environment, and magnetic field. It's a (relatively) low-cost mission with a focused science goal, and is thus quite different from a mission like Galileo which produced stunning images of Jupiter and its moons. Similarly, any images we get from the upcoming GRAIL or MAVEN missions will be similarly disappointing. We've got lots of pictures, so new missions are focused on data that is just as useful but less pretty -- at least for the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter.

Single blue dot? (1)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262822)

This reminds me of the photograph of Earth taken by Voyager the famous Pale Blue Dot [slashdot.org] photograph taken from the edge of the solar system. That is an amazing picture. It makes you realize just how small and fragile the Earth really is in the immensity of the Universe.

This is cool and all... (1)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262902)

...but couldn't they take a picture while the probe was a bit closer to us?

Re:This is cool and all... (3, Informative)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37262942)

They just go the camera turned on, so no. It'll be back for a flyby in a couple years, though, so we should get a cooler shot then.

Anyone who wants to complain about... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37263000)

...how unimpressive this is: There are plenty of articles on Steve Jobs you could be reading. Now go bugger off!

The reason it's blurry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37263380)

It would have been sharper but somebody moved.

Zoom, enhance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37263604)

We're going to have to do this a thousand times before I'll be able to see my house!

Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264022)

Unfortunately he's also the Juno principal photographer.

I look horrible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37266964)

I look horrible in that picture! At least they could have warned me before and I could have combed my hair!

Explanation required... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37269574)

...for a non-scientist.

Where are the stars in these pictures?

Genuine question - I really don't understand.

Obligatory PBF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37269732)

http://www.pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF248-Transmission.jpg

I guess it's not really obligatory. But here you go, anyway.

love the picture (1)

akihironihongo (2451182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272788)

really puts us in perspective to the rest of the solar system. we are not special. we are just a small insignificant dot in a sea of planets and stars and galaxies.
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