Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Re-creation of Famous Voyager 1 Flyby Animation

Voyager 1
The famous Voyager 1 film.
The Voyager 1 Flyby Animation. This post going to interest more than a pretty select bunch of viewers here and just annoy the rest, I know, but it's fascinating enough for those who are interested to go through with this.

Voyager 1 is was a  1,592 lb space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977, to study the outer solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Voyager 1 began taking pictures of Jupiter as it approached the planet in January 1979. The pictures continued at set times for three months, ending in April, compiling almost 19,000 pictures. The result was the short time-lapse animation above.

While that film doesn't look like much, it provided the first up-close view of the largest planet in human history. Little was known about the gas giant before this film, which opened a lot of eyes with its depiction of swirling clouds and unlocking of the "great eye of Jupiter."

A group of seven Swedish amateur astronomers decided to "replicate" this seminal film using ground-based telescopes. Needless to say, they needed some fancy equipment to do this. Perhaps this is only of interest to space geeks like me, but it seems like a pretty cool project and a glimpse into the world of real astronomers - the kind who discover comets and such that you read about in news stories.

The film also is of interest for showing the elaborate post-processing methods the astronomers used. The project became as much about software manipulation of images as it did the images themselves, which is of interest to any video editor.

I like that they used Photoshop CS6 without the annoying Creative Cloud like I do with my video work. Shows they are a pretty savvy group of guys! ;)

Their pretty well-made documentary-style film about the effort is below. It shows the re-creation, then how it was done. The re-creation is pretty cool though, to be truthful, not as stunning as the real thing, though it being in color is kind of cool.

Voyager3Movie from Peter Rosén on Vimeo.

The astronomers replicated the feat closely, exactly 35 years later. Astronomers don't usually get any press or notice much less notoriety, so this was a great chance for a hard-working bunch of guys to get a little recognition. They called themselves the "Voyager 3" team. Hey, these guys could be going out to bars or shooting reindeer or something, instead, they have devoted themselves to studying the heavens. Sounds all right to me.

Voyager 3

The astronomers are (left to right):

Daniel Sundström, Peter Rosén (the project initiator), Torbjörn Holmqvist, Göran Strand, Johan Warell and his daughter Noomi, Martin Högberg and Roger Utas.


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