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Planet Rise
June 29, 2013 7:57 AM   Subscribe

What would the night sky look like if the other planets were as close as the moon?
posted by jim in austin (55 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wouldn't the night sky be obscured by a giant tidal wave or something?
posted by escabeche at 8:00 AM on June 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Volcanic ash from gravity tearing the Earth apart... something like that.
posted by Foosnark at 8:06 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


How quickly Pluto is forgotten.
posted by grog at 8:11 AM on June 29, 2013 [17 favorites]


That picture of Jupiter is nightmare fuel.
posted by duvatney at 8:11 AM on June 29, 2013 [22 favorites]


What if other planets replaced the moon?
posted by martinrebas at 8:12 AM on June 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


Pluto sulks in the corner, sucking on an ice cube from his gin and tonic and watching the fun at the big table, Jupiter all big and jolly and Saturn so pretty with her rings, and as per usual, Earth at the head of the table and running the show. "There they go again, those guys. Remember when we used to get invited to those parties? Even though they were sort of condescending--little Pluto, so eccentric--we were still the new kid in town and included in everything. And then Earth had to pull that junior-high-cafeteria bullshit."

Charon laid an icy hand on his shoulder. "Patience, my love", she purred. "Once they find out what we're really all about, they'll come crawling back, oh yes."
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:14 AM on June 29, 2013 [14 favorites]


Some sweet auroras as Jupiter's magnetosphere interacts with our own, maybe? At least for a few minutes until the radiation kills you.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:15 AM on June 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Well, yeah; we would then be a moon of the larger planet, and you can understand pretty quickly why the other such moons have a hard time holding on to liquid water or an atmosphere.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:18 AM on June 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Now I'm curious about how high would the sea tide be with each substitution... Could you even have atmospheric "tides" with the giant planets? I bet the eclipses would be amazing, though.
posted by Iosephus at 8:19 AM on June 29, 2013


The permanent eclipse of humanity would indeed be amazing.
posted by item at 8:21 AM on June 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Something else to consider - it takes the moon about 27 days to complete an orbit. If we were looking up at Jupiter it would take about a day and a half (hooray for math) and you'd pretty much have an eclipse every time.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:26 AM on June 29, 2013


Also, that Jupiter would reflect so much light from the sun at that distance that light that a full-Jupiter night like that would have light levels more akin to daytime than to a full-moon night.

Also, about a third of the year would be spent in full solar eclipse.
posted by 256 at 8:32 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought the video version that martinrebas linked to (which was posted here before, though I can't find it) was a far more effective demonstration of the same concept, because it is completely terrifying.
posted by nev at 8:32 AM on June 29, 2013 [14 favorites]


The pictures are pretty; I enjoyed them. One reason I moved to my current house is that it's relatively dark here. I have a lake view, and the full moon on the lake is beautiful on a clear night. Do yourself a favor, and take a drive to get away from city lights next time there's a full moon on a clear night. Bright enough to read by. When there's snow on the ground, it's even brighter.
posted by theora55 at 8:34 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just imagine a dot instead of the moon, if it makes you happy.
posted by Artw at 8:34 AM on June 29, 2013


I don't know for sure what the night sky would look like. But I know it would sound like screaming.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:35 AM on June 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Two dots really if Charon came along.
posted by Artw at 8:36 AM on June 29, 2013


Now let us consider the gravitational effects... oh dear.
posted by Decani at 8:39 AM on June 29, 2013


I found this more useful for helping me realise how far away the moon actually is. I mean, I know the numbers, but I've also seen hundreds of images and graphics were the moon is basically parked right on top of us, and they kind of override everything else in my brain.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:40 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's no moon...
posted by mazola at 8:41 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why would Jupiter be terrifying (ignoring the whole tidal forces / magnetosphere thing that has already been cited)?

We've got a ball of angry fire in our sky right now that will blind you if you try to look at it for too long and yet people send their kids outside to play when it's visible on purpose!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:41 AM on June 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


also, I like that the video shows Earth in the sky. Nice planet, somebody should take good care of it.
posted by theora55 at 8:43 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


> "'We would all feel a lot more humble with Jupiter's presence constantly looking over us,"

"Since the beginning of time, man has YEARNED to destroy the sun Jupiter!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:43 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Space artist Ron Miller"

SPACE ARTIST

I'm imagining him pootling about in LEO in a Jetsons-style spaceship full of art supplies. Possibly in a beret. Please do not dissuade me of this delightful notion.
posted by elizardbits at 9:01 AM on June 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Do not imagine this with the sun.
posted by odinsdream at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The permanent eclipse of humanity

New band name.
posted by onwords at 9:06 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why would Jupiter be terrifying (ignoring the whole tidal forces / magnetosphere thing that has already been cited)?

It dominates the sky, forever reminding people of how small they are. Throw in that goddamn eye and it's like god itself is watching you all the time. Essentially, it's space Sauron.

Here a several mockups I did of the size of the Death Stars in relationship to Earth and the Moon and what they would look like from Earth. Scroll to left to flip through all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:11 AM on June 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


bet the eclipses would be amazing, though.

Solar eclipses on Earth are so cool because the apparent size of the Moon's disc and the Sun's disc are virtually the same in the sky. Saturn blotting out the Sun would be more like an occultation of Venus or a star or some other object by the Moon - very cool in its own right. Personally, I prefer totality during an eclipse just as our neighborhood makes it appear today.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:14 AM on June 29, 2013


"Space Sauron" reminds me of Solaris the Tyrant Sun.
posted by Iosephus at 9:42 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It dominates the sky, forever reminding people of how small they are.

Well that and we would be in the middle of a radiation band that would kill us in minutes. That would be a bit depressing too.
posted by happyroach at 10:09 AM on June 29, 2013


.

(for the planet Pluto)
posted by Riki tiki at 10:12 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


What if other planets replaced the moon?

Isn't Earth rotating in the wrong direction in that video?
posted by fuse theorem at 10:29 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Since the beginning of time, man the black monolith has YEARNED to destroy the sun Jupiter!"
posted by ennui.bz at 10:42 AM on June 29, 2013


.

(for the planet Pluto)


That's about the right size.
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it's funny how scary Jupiter is. Even though you know the punchline from the start of the joke, there's still something unsettling to see it looming over. Not as scary as in the video where it swallows the entire sky, however.
posted by looli at 11:08 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of the final scene in The Quiet Earth.
posted by doctornemo at 11:16 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jupiter really, really scares me.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 11:25 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly surprised Jupiter doesn't take-up more of the sky. I was sort of expecting sky fulled with atmospheric bands and the big storm. I didn't expect to be able to see the full disc of Jupiter without maybe having to turn ones head.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:08 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Isn't Earth rotating in the wrong direction in that video?

Apparently it's a southern hemisphere perspective, looking north. For more MeFi discussion of that video (and the mind shattering terror of Jupiter filling the sky) see here.
posted by Avelwood at 12:24 PM on June 29, 2013


...Melancholia?
posted by threeants at 12:42 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised Jupiter doesn't take-up more of the sky.

Me too. That's it? I thought it would be pretty much all you would see in the sky.
posted by Camofrog at 12:45 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


No offense to our moon, but imagine looking up in the sky and seeing this:

Uranus?

*giggles*
posted by chavenet at 1:53 PM on June 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Urectum.
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on June 29, 2013


Everyone who isn't impressed by how Jupiter looks can't have watched the video that martinrebas linked. Seriously - talk about nightmare fuel.
posted by MsVader at 2:45 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


So many realists in this thread.
posted by 0 answers at 2:58 PM on June 29, 2013


Uranus?

That would be one way to get mooned.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:25 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of a Another Earth. One of the best scifi movies ever, you should see it.
posted by miyabo at 3:33 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently it's a southern hemisphere perspective, looking north

Okay but even from that perspective, the sun doesn't rise in California before it does in New York.
posted by fuse theorem at 3:55 PM on June 29, 2013


That picture of Jupiter is nightmare fuel.

I have had recurring Wrong Physics nightmares for years, no, I'm not joking, and looking up from a tiny object with impossible mass to see a planet hovering overhead like that has woken me up screaming many, many times.

Also, tidal waves rolling in from the opposite coast.
posted by Catch at 3:59 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why would Jupiter be terrifying...?


Because it is watching you with its terrible unblinking eye, forever.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:27 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised Jupiter doesn't take-up more of the sky.

I think it does. Take a look at the video linked up thread. Maybe one is Jupiter placed on centre, and the other is Jupiter placed such that the nearest point is at the same distance as the moon's nearest point? Except it seems like a bit too much difference for that though..
posted by Chuckles at 4:59 PM on June 29, 2013


It's not clear that the fields of view are comparable. The video seems to be done with a fisheye lens (note the horizon), and that will cause some exaggeration in the larger objects since their surface is closer to the lens.

Also it's quite possible it gets it wrong in some material respect -- certainly making the Earth rotate the wrong way is a pretty silly blunder. The "southern hemisphere perspective" comment in that other thread doesn't make a lot of sense. Bear in mind that its axis is shown with the north pole at the top and the south pole at the bottom. Given that it rotates at the same rate as the Earth (given that it IS the Earth) then if it is oriented the same way as our earth it will appear to rotate faster (any given point moving to its East as we move toward our East). If it is oriented the opposite way, it will give the appearance of rotating much more slowly, as if the two planets were engaged to each other as gears. But either way it will appear to rotate in the correct direction.

(Also, the video's creator admits in the comments of the Vimeo thread that he got the direction of rotation wrong.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:16 PM on June 29, 2013


Reminded me of the view we get of Jupiter from Europa in the trailer for Europa Report, which I'm hoping won't be terrible, but that's neither here nor there.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 6:51 PM on June 29, 2013


All this talk of Jupiter being nightmare fuel reminds me of the underrated BBC series Space Odyssey from a few years back.

Specifically, this bit
posted by ambivalentic at 8:47 PM on June 29, 2013


That picture of Jupiter is nightmare fuel.

It can be a bit misleading when you don't know how much field-of-view the camera has. To visualise how big Jupiter would look at the distance of the moon: It's about 40 times larger in diameter. The moon fills about 30 arc minutes of the sky. So Jupiter would be 20 degrees. If you hold out your hand at arm's length, its width covers roughly 10 degrees.

The Earth-Moon distance is similar to the distance from Jupiter to Io, one of its closer moons, so it'd look about the same size from there. If the planet were near your horizon at that distance and you have normal human vision, about 90% of the horizon you could see while fixing your gaze on the massive planet would still be Jupiter-free. So I think it would maybe not be quite as terrifying as you might imagine, though still pretty damn impressive.
posted by sfenders at 8:24 PM on July 3, 2013


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