Tuesday, March 17, 2009

YouTube Videos of Galileo Flybys of Io

A couple of weeks ago, I uploaded a video showing an animation of Voyager 1's encounter with Io. I have gone ahead and uploaded animations showing the seven flybys Galileo made of Io between 1995 and 2002. These were created using Celestia, a 3D space simulation program that supports user-created add-ons. This is great because it is easy to modify the program to suit your needs, whether you want to create science fiction/fantasy worlds in a galaxy far, far away or model spaceflight events closer to home. I've modified my installed version so that it uses NAIF Spice kernels to produce accurate position information for all the planets and satellites in the solar system and many space probes, such as Galileo, Cassini, both Voyagers, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MESSENGER, Dawn, and Pioneer 10 and 11. I have also modified it to include a high-resolution basemaps for Io and many other planets and moons. Here are the links to those videos on Youtube, plus an embedded version of the I33 video below.

In a few other quick notes, the presentations from last week's OPAG meeting still haven't been posted online, in case you are waiting for me to discuss them. As soon as they are, I will let you know here.

Astrophotography of Jupiter and its moons certainly have died down in recent months due to January's conjunction, when Jupiter was on the other side of the Sun from Earth, making it difficult to observe because Jupiter's been so close to the Sun. However, over the last few weeks, Jupiter has been reaching higher and higher in the sky, making it more visible in the morning sky. Tomio Akutsu in the Philippines captured a great view of Jupiter on March 7, also showing that Io is in fact, still in existence (in case there were any skeptics out there ;-)

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