Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.
January 29, 2011 9:50 PM   Subscribe

What if other planets in the Solar System orbited Earth at the same distance as the Moon? (SLVimeo) Full screen highly recommended.
posted by grapesaresour (120 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
...we would get ripped apart by tidal forces.
posted by empath at 9:50 PM on January 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


No Saturn? I am disappoint.
posted by Menthol at 9:54 PM on January 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


What if a really large thing was right in front of your face instead of light years away?
posted by crossoverman at 9:57 PM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Somewhere there is a director's cut version where they do the Sun and it takes, like, hours for it to go by.
posted by NoraReed at 9:57 PM on January 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


Hey, throw in the Sun!

And a Borg cube.

And the Deathstar.

I really would like to see those.
posted by zippy at 9:57 PM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


His Earth is rotating the wrong way.
posted by CarlRossi at 10:04 PM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


I want the rest of them to be in there too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:07 PM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


This just makes me mad that Betelgeuse isn't going supernova in my lifetime.
posted by skewed at 10:10 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Somehow, I feel like sitting in the back of my pick up truck with my high school girlfriend staring at Jupiter wouldn't have been nearly as romantic. Hard to make a move when THAT GIANT FUCKING GLOWING EYE is staring right at you.
posted by SNWidget at 10:11 PM on January 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


Damn I am disappointed he didn't keep going with all the celestial bodies in our solar system. Argh.
posted by xmutex at 10:13 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Pluto?
posted by localhuman at 10:13 PM on January 29, 2011


Personally I would like to have a giant ball of fudge in our orbit big enough to feed everyone on Earth, but not so big that everyone who had some would get a tummy ache. Then we, all the nations of the world, would come together to train Emperor penguins to watch over the giant fudge ball in the sky. Henceforth it would be called Nad and from then on all penguin babies would dream of the day when they would be commanded to "Go Nad!"
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 10:14 PM on January 29, 2011 [16 favorites]


the distance between Earth and Planets could be treated like the actual distance from earth to moon, by NASA speeding up the travel time between Earth and the Planets, in other words, all the Planets do not need to be an equal distance away, and they are not!
posted by tustinrick at 10:14 PM on January 29, 2011


Am I the only one who kind of got freaked out and had to look away when Jupiter came around?

I had it full-screened in a dark room, for context.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:15 PM on January 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


I have this disorder. I am terrified of gas giants. Neptune terrified me. But Jupiter made me scream.

Seriously. My neighbor nocked on the door to see if I was okay.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:20 PM on January 29, 2011 [29 favorites]


Am I the only one who kind of got freaked out and had to look away when Jupiter came around?

Nope. I also found it a bit unnerving. But that's also what made it cool.

(For the record, I also wake up from nightmares impressed with the awesome things my brain can try to scare me with.)
posted by bayani at 10:21 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


For an encore they should show us what it would look like to orbit other stars besides our own sun.

I'll wait...
posted by sambosambo at 10:23 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, throw in the Sun!
We would be deep inside the sun.
posted by Flunkie at 10:23 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


crossoverman: "What if a really large thing was right in front of your face instead of light years away?"

I don't know; I think it helps build perspective.

Sometimes it feels like we take the moon for granted, which is strange since it should be the one object easiest to view with a sense of wonder. The sun is far too bright to look at, and the planets and stars are just little points of light (though travel far enough into the countryside and they're a real sight to behold).

But the moon is this massive, solid object, just hanging there in space every night (and sometimes during the day!). I like to look at it and sometimes and remember that you fit San Francisco at one end and New York at the other, remember that there's this mass of rock larger than North America floating serenely hundreds of thousands of miles overhead, but close enough to see the mountains and craters on its face. And when its waxing or waning, it's a constant reminder of the reality of where you are. You're not on some flat plain with the heavens rotating around you, like your instinct tells you to think. Looking at that crescent reminds you that the moon is a sphere, not a disc, that the sun is lighting it from some position millions of miles away below the horizon, and that that horizon is just the edge of yet another sphere. You can almost see the sunlight striking the ground on the other side of the world, 12,000 miles below your feet.

(Watching this video does sort of the same thing, by getting you to see the planets in a different context in a way that conveys their size. It's too bad there weren't more in the video.)

I read once that one of the best reasons to maintain a lunar base was to shake the world out of the usual way of thinking about space. If you can look at the moon and realize there are people living there, it forces you to think of it as an object in space rather than an image in the sky, and that the sky is not some abstract thing, but a real place that's within our grasp. We had that realization, long ago, but the memory is fading fast.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:23 PM on January 29, 2011 [63 favorites]


The limited planet choice is puzzling, but also yeah, Jupiter is fucking terrifying. Also keep in mind that roughly a fourth of the year, it would be nothing but an alternation between clear night sky and daytime Jupiter sky. I do not want to meet the kind of advanced beings developing under that maelstrom.

An Earth in the sky would be cool although moon distance seems too close. The kind of myths that result from that would be interesting to see play out. Would we assume the other Earth as heaven? Would that persist even after we found out our own planet looks the same?
posted by greenland at 10:24 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who kind of got freaked out and had to look away when Jupiter came around?

There's no going home.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:26 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Pluto?

Just the planets.
posted by Bonzai at 10:28 PM on January 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


No Saturn? I am disappoint.

I guess they were able to stop Project Flashlight this time.

On a similar note, Previously what if Earth had rings like Saturn.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 10:28 PM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


This just makes me mad that Betelgeuse isn't going supernova in my lifetime.

Tell me about it. Every month, Old Man Mastercard is knocking on my door, but if I knew that some nearby star was going supernova, I'd be all like SUCK IT MASTERCARD THOSE AMAZON PURCHASES ARE MINE
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:36 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hard to make a move when THAT GIANT FUCKING GLOWING EYE is staring right at you.

Yeah, that was my problem with Frodo.
posted by NoraReed at 10:36 PM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


en forme de poire: "Am I the only one who kind of got freaked out and had to look away when Jupiter came around?"

munchingzombie: "I have this disorder. I am terrified of gas giants. Neptune terrified me. But Jupiter made me scream. "

bayani: "Nope. I also found it a bit unnerving."

So I'm not crazy!

There really is something deeply creepy about Jupiter. Uranus and Neptune are just pretty planets to me, but Jupiter has something special about it.

There's the sheer size of it, for one. The tendrilly, flesh-colored skies that look tinged with blood. The unblinking eye of the Great Red Spot. It's like the harlequin baby of the Solar System (note: do not Google "harlequin baby" unless you want extremely disturbing examples of why this is an apt metaphor).

There's also the mystic aura given to it by the 2001 series, with its orbiting monolith and its transformation into a sun. And the recording of "Jupiter sounds" returned by the Voyager probe, which sound tailor-made for an atmospheric horror movie.

Damn, Jupiter. You scary.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:37 PM on January 29, 2011 [21 favorites]


What if a really large thing was right in front of your face 0.0000000405696 light-years away instead of 0.0000664422568 light years away?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:38 PM on January 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


Damn, Jupiter, you scary!
posted by Scientist at 10:38 PM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Things like this just make me upset that I'll probably never get to see Jupiter up close. I'd give up a lot to see it if it were possible to actually enter the atmosphere and penetrate through the layers of the planet. Perhaps in several hundred years...
posted by Burhanistan at 10:42 PM on January 29, 2011


Saturn, too... this is one creepy galaxy!
posted by Crane Shot at 10:43 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've seen that Jupiter sky before - luckily the acid wore off.
posted by sanko at 10:46 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


explain the term LIGHT YEARS?
posted by tustinrick at 10:57 PM on January 29, 2011


Oh, and one more thing that adds to the creepiness of Jupiter, at least for me: the zombie/fungus-like Flood Carriers from the Halo series look like bulbous, walking Jupiters with stubby legs and searching tentacles. They even have their own Red Spots right where the face should be. I wonder if that was a design decision...
posted by Rhaomi at 10:59 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


My first thought upon seeing this video was Richard Dawkins saying "But it's an empirical fact. The planets didn't come to us, we came to them. Just look at the stars. We're in a completely different reason of space."
I feel bad about that, and if you know what I'm talking about, you should feel bad too.

But planet-destroying consequences aside, it would make night-time much more interesting, especially for those of us who are near-sighted but too lazy to wear their glasses.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:19 PM on January 29, 2011


I feel cooked by Jupiter's radiation just watching that.
posted by dhartung at 11:21 PM on January 29, 2011


"An Earth in the sky would be cool"
Yeah - but you know we would all hate those guys.
posted by rongorongo at 11:25 PM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, where's the actual source for the Jupiter sounds? I'm hoping it's legit, but skeptic me says it's just something someone took from a Steve Roach album ;)

Seriously, how fucking awesome.

But also, seriously, is there a more legit source for this besides youtube?

Oh, here's this straight from NASA.

I'm not a religious person, though I have that sort of scientific awe that a right secular pantheist should hold...

But I'd like to pretend that our souls descend to our physical bodies from the sun, and when we die, we're all just ghostly souls floating about that giant body, wailing, like banshees in an eternal ocean, knowing we're not alone, but never able to connect to the ocean of others also roaming and wailing.
posted by symbioid at 11:31 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just wanna know how big Uranus is.
posted by Duke999R at 11:42 PM on January 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


> Am I the only one who kind of got freaked out and had to look away when Jupiter came around?

I've been kind of freaked out by Jupiter ever since I saw 2010 at the age of 11.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:46 PM on January 29, 2011


Boo!
posted by Neiltupper at 12:09 AM on January 30, 2011


I have this disorder. I am terrified of gas giants. Neptune terrified me. But Jupiter made me scream.

I have always felt a strange tug of fear when seeing things like this, but I have never mentioned it to anyone because it seems like such an odd thing to feel. Seriously, thank you for making me feel a little more normal today.
posted by Avelwood at 12:09 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, a lot of people are scared of gas giants. I think they're cool.

I love the animation of Jupiter's belts and bands.
posted by jiawen at 12:27 AM on January 30, 2011


His Earth is rotating the wrong way.

Or his perspective is from the southern hemisphere.
posted by knave at 12:27 AM on January 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


If Jupiter was that close, we'd probably look something like Io. It's about as far from Jupiter as the Moon is from Earth.
posted by Solomon at 12:29 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it feels like we take the moon for granted, which is strange since it should be the one object easiest to view with a sense of wonder. The sun is far too bright to look at, and the planets and stars are just little points of light (though travel far enough into the countryside and they're a real sight to behold).

I feel the same about trees and clouds. Trees because shit, I once dug up a brick courtyard and tried to pile the bricks as high as I could and they all fell down and broke at about 3 metres but trees are skyscrapers made out of plants! Clouds also because what the hell are they doing up there? Water can fly! And when it does it's all fluffy and nice! (Except when it's not and then it MAKES ELECTRIC SHOCKS). Basically everything fills me with this sense of wonder and this is why I gave this guy a pass for making a crappy video of planets going past because hey, it's pretty cool that there are planets at all.
posted by doublehappy at 12:41 AM on January 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


I was curious so I checked -- the radius of Jupiter is around 71,000km. The moon's orbital distance from the center of the Earth (note: not from the center of mass of the Earth-moon system, which would be less) is around 385,000km. I was oddly surprised by this; for some reason I imagined that Jupiter's volume would occupy a much larger chunk of the moon's orbit. As it is Jupiter's surface would be a "mere" one-fifth closer to Earth than the Moon's surface is now.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:55 AM on January 30, 2011


His Earth is rotating the wrong way.

Or his perspective is from the southern hemisphere.


Wouldn't it be that he is looking in the southern direction, therefore making east on the left and west on the right?
posted by XhaustedProphet at 12:57 AM on January 30, 2011


I have always felt a strange tug of fear when seeing things like this, but I have never mentioned it to anyone because it seems like such an odd thing to feel.

Wow. It is reassuring to know others feel this way. Yeah that made me sick to my stomach.

Jupiter (or rather a canal-laden moon of Jupiter, with coarse porous rocky canals carved by deep dark blue-purple rivers of some sort) was the source of much if not all of the discomfort I have ever experienced in life. Let's just say there have been LOTS of dreams about that.

It's complex but something about aliens or an ancient anti-life form being from there or something but is actually the source of all evil on the planet earth and just exists to separate us from the Main Source. Serious bad time.

When this story came out a few years ago, I was like, shudder. The new film Monster is based on the premise of life from Europa.

Fu-uuck Jupiter. Give me Mars or even the moon anyday. Space travel breakthroughs not withstanding, Ima stay away from Joop-it-ter until we come up with Halo-style exo-skeletons for the mind.

Glad to know that for some of us, that planet is one big booga booga vibe.

...

I'm going to play some Eric Donaldson reggae now, breathe, chill and say loving prayer to the good good good.
posted by humannaire at 1:42 AM on January 30, 2011


Jupiter is so big it's terrifying, but if you really want to shit your pants, think about things that that hit Jupiter.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:34 AM on January 30, 2011


So, this would be the part where I whinge and bitch and SCREAM about crappy non-metropolitan Australian internet... I've got the edge of Jupiter on the left-hand side of the screen and it's been buffering for, oh, 10 minutes now. At 52 seconds. For the third time in a row.

If anyone wants me, I'll be in my trailer. Insert movie-star-style stalking off here.

I really wanted to be blown away by Jupiter after reading your comments. Went full-screen and turned the lights off and all. Was even considering waking the kids - space freaks who are asleep in anticipation of their first day back at school tomorrow, YAY - to see it. Maybe tomorrow.

posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:36 AM on January 30, 2011


do not Google "harlequin baby"

I should have followed that advice.
posted by mikelieman at 2:38 AM on January 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Harlequin baby is going on my list of reasons for why there is no god.
posted by Ritchie at 3:13 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love that if I have some weird fear, like of Jupiter, there are other people on MeFi that make me feel like less of a freak.
posted by Nattie at 3:14 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


munchingzombie: What did you tell your neighbor? "Oh, you know, Jupiter..."

Honestly I don't blame you for screaming, the music starts prepping you for a heart attack around Neptune and then it's just like, HORRRORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
posted by Nattie at 3:19 AM on January 30, 2011



Damn I am disappointed he didn't keep going with all the celestial bodies in our solar system.



I don't think I need to see Uranus that close up.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:25 AM on January 30, 2011


Poor little Pluto always gets left behind.
posted by Lanark at 3:41 AM on January 30, 2011


♪♫ I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE... SOMEBODY'S WAAATCHIN' ME... ♪♫
posted by Rhaomi at 4:08 AM on January 30, 2011


Jupiter Summanus! (sender of nocturnal thunder)
posted by bwg at 4:38 AM on January 30, 2011


As soon as I saw the description I thought, "Right, this is gonna be all like wooooaaaAAAAAAH JUPITER!!!!".
posted by Decani at 4:40 AM on January 30, 2011


Can't sleep. Jupiter will eat me.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:14 AM on January 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sorry guys, I'm not getting the fear of Jupiter. Please explain to me the dread, &c. (You'll probably get lots of favourites if you do it right).

Are you sure it's not just the music at that point gets quite dread-y?
posted by doublehappy at 5:34 AM on January 30, 2011


I think it (the fear) stems from the fact that Jupiter is huge and unknowable and inimical to any life form we know, like a New Zealand rugby player.
posted by Mister_A at 5:55 AM on January 30, 2011


WHERE THE FUCK IS SATURN!?
posted by Fizz at 5:59 AM on January 30, 2011


Anyway, let me show you something really scary. Eta Carinae fixin' to blow! Yikes! VY Canis Majoris is measured in light hours. Holy smokes! The vastness of these things is mind-blowing.
posted by Mister_A at 6:02 AM on January 30, 2011


Sorry guys, I'm not getting the fear of Jupiter. Please explain to me the dread, &c.

The thing about Jupiter is if you get to close, you will never get all the drops out of your hair.
posted by Sailormom at 6:09 AM on January 30, 2011


So when I was a kid I had a copy of a book called The Solar System by Roman Smoluchowski. Although I'm sure his source was NASA or some other agency, this is the only place I've seen the particular photograph of Jupiter. There was a composite view of Jupiter's southern pole, assembled from photographs taken by the satellites that we sent, and of course there were gaps between the photographs in the areas where the imaging didn't meet together.

This formed a shape in the center of the photograph of Jupiter's surface that looked like this. I'm just sorry I don't have a bigger picture of it. It terrified me as a kid, even though I knew it was just "an artifact of the imaging process," as the book put it.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:18 AM on January 30, 2011


Sorry guys, I'm not getting the fear of Jupiter. Please explain to me the dread, &c.

In this video, it's because it's rippling and huge and it's COMING RIGHT AT US.
posted by JDHarper at 6:33 AM on January 30, 2011


This formed a shape in the center of the photograph of Jupiter's surface that looked like this.

Oh shit
posted by Sailormom at 6:35 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


More space "sounds"
posted by dirigibleman at 7:30 AM on January 30, 2011


I was fully expecting a still shot of a ghoul and a loud sound there at the end. See how the internet has ruined me?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:36 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Jupiter were at the same distance from the Earth as the Moon, the Earth would not get ripped apart by tidal forces, because it would still be outside Jupiter's Roche limit. But we'd be slaughtered by Jupiter's radiation: Io, which orbits Jupiter at a slightly greater distance than Earth's Moon, gets something like 36 Sv per day.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:42 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm so glad there are other people who are terrified of Jupiter! I have always suffered this way. And though I usually fabricate some ridiculous reason that I hope people will better understand (it could roll over and crush us in its sleep! it has an eye!), it's really not that complicated. I just can't look at big floating things. This applies to Jupiter especially, but also to all planets and ex-planets, viewed from an appropriate distance. Once someone here posted a link to dozens upon dozens of drawings of castles suspended in space with their jagged, rocky foundational roots exposed, supported by nothing. That just about killed me, but I could not look away.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:43 AM on January 30, 2011


Jupiter makes me say Come on, Ren, wake up and see the moon!
posted by usonian at 7:47 AM on January 30, 2011



This just makes me mad that Betelgeuse isn't going supernova in my lifetime.


It my very well have already gone supernova. The light from it just won't get here in your lifetime. Feel better now?
posted by Danf at 7:54 AM on January 30, 2011


Makes Ringworld look like a piker.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:08 AM on January 30, 2011


Sorry guys, I'm not getting the fear of Jupiter. Please explain to me the dread, &c.

I don't know about anyone else, but I always get a bit queasy and unsettled whenever I contemplate really big things in space. It's not like being scared of meteors or fire or whatever. I don't think Jupiter is going come over here and eat us. It's that the scale is TOO BIG and it hurts my brain.

I remember vividly being seven or so and looking through one of my dad's physics textbooks, and there was a diagram of the earth's magnetic field and how it affects solar wind. The earth looked so small and vulnerable, surrounded by enormous forces, and it terrified me; I had to shut the book. Even then I was confused by my reaction, because it didn't feel like a fear for my safety, but more for.... my sanity.

I can't believe I just wrote that. I think I finally get Lovecraft!*

It just hit me: Jupiter is like Cthulhu. Cthulhu is supposed to be scary because it's so beyond human terms. Jupiter is completely unlike our pretty little friendly-looking Earth, and it would swallow Earth whole without any trouble. Thinking about that just produces an awe and a sense of dread.




*I've never been a fan.
posted by Toothless Willy at 8:13 AM on January 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm not afraid of the gas giants, I'm mad at them. Like they're cheating. Gas isn't solid -- it shouldn't count for size!
posted by callmejay at 8:14 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Pluto?

Just the planets.


You mean, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Pluto, Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, Eris, Sedna, Orcus, Quaoar, Ixion, Vesta, Veruna, Pallas . . . and somewhere north of 2000 others*.

See, we don't have fewer planets than before we have more. Way more.

Some of them happen to be classified as dwarves, which doesn't at all take away from the fact that they are fairly large, spherical, and really cool objects orbiting the sun--objects we knew nothing about until very recent times.

Ceres was discovered in 1801, Pluto in 1930, and basically all the rest since the year 2000.

Welcome to the 21st Century, where the sun doesn't have a mere six planets orbiting it, or eight, or nine, but thousands . . .

*Technical point: Only five objects are officially accepted as dwarf planets today but to that we have to add 73 candidate objects, and estimated 200 more in the Kuiper belt, and an estimated 2000 more beyond the Kuiper belt.
posted by flug at 8:25 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


That reminded me of the time when Gallifrey briefly returned.
posted by painquale at 8:30 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Toothless Willy, you're going to want to skip this one, then.
posted by roystgnr at 8:39 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dwarf planets ≠ real planets.
posted by Mister_A at 8:49 AM on January 30, 2011


I also surprised myself by being absolutely terrified of Jupiter. As an experiment, I watched it again and, yep, still terrified. I get the same feeling when I watch videos of enormous whales underwater.
posted by creasy boy at 8:51 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know what was scary? That giant thing in the asteroid in Empire Strikes Back, that the Falcon landed in.
posted by Mister_A at 8:54 AM on January 30, 2011


@Tustinrick - I'm surprised people aren't tripping over themselves to explain light years to you.

Distances in space are so vast that measuring them in normal units like miles or kilometers quickly gets ludicrous. The numbers are just too vast.

Within the solar system, you can get away with using the average distance from the earth to the sun as your yardstick. That's known as one astronomical unit (AU), and it equals something like 90,000,000 miles (too lazy to look it up at the moment).

Unfortunately, the AU is too small to be useful if we're talking about interstellar or (worse) intergallactic distances. What to use for that scale?

Well, the speed of light in a vacuum is ~300,000 km/second - or about 186,000 miles per second. Distance equals speed times time. So we could use the speed of light, multiplied by standard units of time, to talk about big distances. The distance from the earth to the moon is between one and two light seconds, earth to sun is roughly eight light minutes, and the nearest star (Alpha Centauri) is ~4 light years away.

Thus, a beam of light travelling from A. Centauri will hurtle through the vacuum of space at the fastest speed anything can possibly go, for four years, before it hits an earthling's eyeball. Or, for perspective, my old, beat-up car has about a light second on the odometer, but it takes (roughly) all the miles on all the cars on the road today in the whole world to make a round trip to Alpha Centauri.

Now, if you're scared of things like Jupiter, you might not want to know that the farthest objects in space are roughly 13,700,000,000 light years away.
posted by richyoung at 8:57 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not all gas. Much of Jupiter (no one knows how much) is made of metallic hydrogen.
posted by drdanger at 8:59 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not terrified of Jupiter. When I see sights like that I end up feeling sad and full of longing; that I'll never close to anything on that magnitude, that we may never, and certainly not on any permanent basis, escape this tiny ball of rock.
posted by dazed_one at 9:11 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm with dazed_one. That sight would be marvelous to behold, even if it was the last sight I ever saw before annihilation.
posted by blucevalo at 9:26 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dwarf planets ≠ real planets.

Dwarf planets are a certain type of planet.

Thus the name, dwarf planet.
posted by flug at 9:50 AM on January 30, 2011


metallic hydrogen.

I love that band.
posted by Trochanter at 10:06 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Neat video, I really hope he adds some other stuff, like Saturn. If nothing else he needs to add Saturn, the most glamorous planet.

Looking at Jupiter filling the sky with its malevolent bulk makes me think there's a good science fiction story in this - imagine what kind of society would evolve on a world with that thing looming overhead. Or a far-flung colony that's been cut off from Earth long enough to descend into some kind of Dark Ages - what kind of religion would they develop? Especially if the inhabited world was a moon tidally locked to its gas giant, so that the planet just hung there unmoving and unblinking, the Eye of God watching everything. Eek, I'm creeping myself out now.
posted by Quietgal at 10:39 AM on January 30, 2011


Paul Churchland suggests this little exercise to remind you of where you are, and more importantly, which way is up. Rationally, you know from illustrations that all of the planets lie more or less in the same plane - the plane of the ecliptic. Usually, the moon's orbit is not far off this plane too. Three points define a plane. Let your present position be one of them. Go outside, and locate two others, e.g. the moon and Jupiter. Recognize the plane, and suddenly you can appreciate that you are standing at an angle on the surface of a ball, and that "up" just changed direction. It works at quite a visceral level, I found.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:08 AM on January 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


So is it possible, with today's science, to show what the sky would look like from other planets?
posted by creasy boy at 12:29 PM on January 30, 2011


Sorry guys, I'm not getting the fear of Jupiter. Please explain to me the dread, &c.

Why should you? It isn't rational. The odds of me suffering any sort of harm at the hand of a gas giant is pretty slim. I am more likely to be eaten alive by penguins. Or smothered at the bottom of a pit full of kittens (KITTENS!).

I can't speak for other people, but how incredibly foreign a planet it is frightening. It is huge. The gravity would crush us flat. It has an atmosphere that would poison us and a whole lot of us. Storms bigger than earth. We can use instruments to see to the rocky portion of other planets. But the surfaces of gas giants are underneath miles of clouds. Just what are they hiding?
posted by munchingzombie at 12:43 PM on January 30, 2011


Jupiter scared me because the video was engrossing and I wasn't sure if it was going to fit in the space between the Earth and the moon. It felt like driving through a gap between two cars and not being sure until after you've gotten through whether you were going to scrape them or not.
posted by invitapriore at 1:31 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or a far-flung colony that's been cut off from Earth long enough to descend into some kind of Dark Ages
Quietgal: That was one of the themes in Avram Davidson's Rork! - human colonists on a remote planet got cut off for several generations (I think) and went a bit feral. No giant planet looming in the sky, though, and I remember there being a lot of that awkward 1960's vintage "It's the future! Look how social mores have changed!" commentary.

(I have a copy of the same edition pictured in the link, and disappointingly the cover has absolutely nothing to do with the book.)
posted by usonian at 1:32 PM on January 30, 2011


What if your hand was bigger than your face?
posted by antgly at 1:38 PM on January 30, 2011


As a kid, I was obsessed with Jupiter (I guess I kinda still am). Maybe it was because I watched 2001 when I was in 7th grade. I was worried that Shoemaker Levy 9 was going to cause real lasting damage. I love Jupiter so much that I got a tattoo of it. *not actual size
posted by nimsey lou at 3:02 PM on January 30, 2011


No one has mentioned it yet: Edmund Burke's theory of the sublime addresses how vastness in natural objects may provoke dread and fear. The sublime finds expression in 18th and 19th century Gothic (e.g. Lovecraft), often with size being the thing that provokes/produces feelings of awe and sublimity.

May you rest more easily, my fellow awestruck MeFites, in the knowledge that dread of the gargantuan is well enough known to have its own branch of aesthetic theory.
posted by mistersquid at 5:21 PM on January 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


Makes Ringworld look like a piker.

How dare you say such a thing about Molly Ringw--

Oh.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:47 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


And for a totally different view, here's Christine Lavin performing If We Had No Moon. (slyt)
posted by MiamiDave at 6:22 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


My first thought upon seeing this video was Richard Dawkins saying "But it's an empirical fact. The planets didn't come to us, we came to them. Just look at the stars. We're in a completely different reason of space."

I feel bad about that, and if you know what I'm talking about, you should feel bad too.




I do.
posted by greenland at 8:21 PM on January 30, 2011


Isn't the Earth too big? I've seen pictures of the Earth from the Moon, and the Earth doesn't look that big. The distance from Earth to the Moon is the same as the distance from the Moon to Earth, right? So why is the Earth-as-simulated-from-Earth so much bigger than the Earth-as-actually-seen-from-the-Moon?
posted by kirkaracha at 9:38 PM on January 30, 2011


Thank goodness they orbit the Earth at their proper distances instead.
posted by Eideteker at 10:01 PM on January 30, 2011


Can't sleep. Jupiter will eat me.

Are you a comet?
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:03 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


So this planetoid is small but the ones out there are far away?
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:34 PM on January 30, 2011


Jupiter has always been my favorite planet. When I was in elementary school, we were all assigned a different planet to do a report on. I got Jupiter. And there began the fascination. I remember reading that all of the other planets could fit inside of Jupiter - that's how big it is.

Like many of you, I was also terrified of Jupiter in this video. Like creasy boy, I decided to watch it again to see if it was just as terrifying. It was. I found myself backing away from the screen - trying to get away from it.

The only way I can try to explain the terror I feel is by comparing it to a recurring fever dream I used to have when I was little. In this dream, I was floating above an endless field of matchstick heads (you know, the red ones on wooden sticks?). There were millions of tiny matchstick heads below me, but at the same time, I knew that even though they looked so small, they were also huge. I would alternate perspectives from being incredibly high above them to rushing down and being right next to one of them so that it would be so enormous that it would take up my entire field of vision - kinda like how Jupiter does in that video.

There's just something so unsettling about an object that's THAT BIG. It's still my favorite planet though. Maybe even moreso now that I'm so terrified of it.
posted by MsVader at 6:32 AM on January 31, 2011


Isn't the Earth too big? I've seen pictures of the Earth from the Moon, and the Earth doesn't look that big. The distance from Earth to the Moon is the same as the distance from the Moon to Earth, right? So why is the Earth-as-simulated-from-Earth so much bigger than the Earth-as-actually-seen-from-the-Moon?

The scale of the foreground image isn't right, but the scale between the earth and the size of the moon is.
posted by empath at 6:35 AM on January 31, 2011


I'm with dazed_one. That sight would be marvelous to behold, even if it was the last sight I ever saw before annihilation.

There isn't enough light from the sun at the distance that Jupiter is at for the human eye to see much of anything except a large black disc in the firmament of stars. All pictures from probes taken of it need sensitive light detectors and a fairly large light collecting aperture.
posted by Catfry at 9:55 AM on January 31, 2011


There isn't enough light from the sun at the distance that Jupiter is at for the human eye to see much of anything except a large black disc in the firmament of stars.

Cite? I am aware of the inverse-square law and that the light is significantly dimmer (1/25?), but I didn't think that would be so dramatic a difference as to leave Jupiter invisible to human eyesight. I mean, we do have eyes that adjust to different light levels.
posted by aught at 11:45 AM on January 31, 2011


'black disc' is overstating it you are right. But 'much of anything' I stand by. There would be no colour. A full moon on Earth provides more light than the sun at Jupiter.
posted by Catfry at 12:10 PM on January 31, 2011


You can see jupiter with the naked eye from earth. With a telescope, you see a full color image of it. You'll be able to see it upclose.

I don't know the exact formula to figure this out, but Jupiter gets 1/25th of the sunlight that earth does, and is 125 larger (surface area) than earth, and it's albedo is .52, compared to earth which is .35 or so.

From what I can tell, Jupiter would actually be brighter than the earth up close.
posted by empath at 12:23 PM on January 31, 2011


I can not give you a cite or even a calculation, this is second hand information from I know not where. I did find a cite that says the light illuminance level difference between full daylight and full moon is about a million. It seems unlikely that even the power of the inverse square law is enough to help my previous assertion here. Nevertheless, until or unless someone does the final calculation I desperately stand by my assertion!
posted by Catfry at 12:29 PM on January 31, 2011


On preview, sighting from the Earth of Jupiter is the clincher empath, red ears all around...
posted by Catfry at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2011


It appears that we are not alone.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:46 PM on January 31, 2011


empath, catfry: Wouldn't that all be moot, since Jupiter would be next to Earth, i.e. much, much closer to the sun? It'd be frickin' bright.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:02 AM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fiddling with my phone tonight during that wretched halftime show reminded me of something I'd meant to mention here: Google's free Sky Map for Android. It's a fantastic app -- it uses your smartphone's internal gyroscope and GPS to overlay the screen with a map of the patch of sky the phone's facing. It's really useful for identifying stars and finding planets, but it's especially cool because it works in all directions -- point it at the ground and you can see the constellations normally reserved for the Southern Hemisphere, and at night you can see where the sun is on the other side of the world.

And speaking of space, the moon is looking amazing over West Alabama tonight. Low in the sky, a slim crescent at the bottom, barely bright enough to make out the dark side against the sky. Just beautiful. Makes me wish I had a telescope, or at least a good pair of binoculars.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:37 PM on February 6, 2011


I know I'm late to the discussion but I think we'd be inside Saturn if it'd orbit us at Moon's distance, so we'd only see a lot of gray fog everywhere, at best.
posted by Anything at 2:38 PM on February 8, 2011


I don't think it's been pointed out that these representations of orbits aren't from the center of the planets, but their surfaces.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2011


No, it seems the author says in the comments that they're measured from the center.
posted by Anything at 7:21 PM on February 8, 2011


On the other hand, it seems I was completely wrong about us being inside Saturn in either case :)
posted by Anything at 7:24 PM on February 8, 2011


« Older Paradichlorobenzene. Antichlorobenzene. Paradich...  |  We've talked about Deconversio... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments