I’ve cued the video to start at the 30-second mark, which I think is the most impressive and was taken over a time period of 17 day, per NASA’s Reddit AMA yesterday. NASA amazes me. That’s a five-year journey that takes into account the rotation of planets, orbits, gravitation pull, and a lot more – which means that’s five years worth of math working out just about perfectly.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured a unique time-lapse movie of the Galilean satellites in motion about Jupiter. The movie begins on June 12th with Juno 10 million miles from Jupiter, and ends on June 29th, 3 million miles distant. The innermost moon is volcanic Io; next in line is the ice-crusted ocean world Europa, followed by massive Ganymede, and finally, heavily cratered Callisto. Galileo observed these moons to change position with respect to Jupiter over the course of a few nights. From this observation he realized that the moons were orbiting mighty Jupiter, a truth that forever changed humanity’s understanding of our place in the cosmos. Earth was not the center of the Universe. For the first time in history, we look upon these moons as they orbit Jupiter and share in Galileo’s revelation. This is the motion of nature’s harmony.
Speaking of Galileo –
- Juno carries a plaque to Jupiter dedicated to Galileo Galilei. The plaque was provided by the Italian Space Agency and measures 7.1 by 5.1 centimeters (2.8 by 2.0 in). It is made of flight-grade aluminum and weighs 6 grams (0.21 oz). The plaque depicts a portrait of Galileo and a text in Galileo’s own hand, penned in January 1610, while observing what would later be known to be the Galilean moons.
- Oh, and LEGOs are included – The spacecraft also carries three Lego minifigures representing Galileo, the Roman god Jupiter and his wife Juno.
I love how NASA name things. Why Juno?
- The spacecraft’s name comes from Greco-Roman mythology. The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, but his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer through the clouds and see Jupiter’s true nature.