Weekend Diversion: Spin it 'Round!

There are plenty of examples in the music world where a cover of a song is strikingly different from the original and still interesting. Take the song You Spin Me Round, which cracked the top 5 all over Europe and North America when Dead or Alive released it. (Click for video.) 15 years later, Dope released a cover of the song in a completely different style, with an incredibly different feel. Take a listen:

It's a pretty good cover. It's interesting to listen to, it's decidedly different from the original, and it's still instantly recognizable. But by time I get to the end of the song, I have a hankering for the original.

Well, the same thing happened to me this weekend with the Planet Jupiter. The New Horizons spacecraft, on its way to Pluto, just passed by Jupiter. While passing by, it took this time-lapse video of Jupiter rotating.

(Thanks, APOD.) It's definitely interesting to watch another planet rotate, and it's fantastic that we have a brand new video of Jupiter doing just that from up close.

But the original is better. More than 30 years ago, in 1979, the spacecraft Voyager I approached Jupiter. Over the course of about 4 weeks, it took a picture of Jupiter every 9.8 hours or so: the amount of time it takes to make one complete rotation. When they made a time lapse video of those 66 images, you could see so much more, including how the individual bands rotated, how the great red spot evolved, which areas spin clockwise and which areas spin counterclockwise relative to the surface, and how turbulence forms in the atmosphere. Take a look.

Amazing that we were able to produce this video in 1979, more than 30 years ago! And that's some weekend eye candy for you.

More like this

Yesterday, we started our goodbyes to Hubble's outgoing camera, WFPC2. It was literally 16 years ago that they first installed this workhorse onto the space telescope: As I write this, the space shuttle Atlantis is up there right now, on a mission to install a new, superior camera. Welcome to part…
It is marvelous indeed to watch on television the rings of Saturn close; and to speculate on what we may yet find at galaxy's edge. But in the process, we have lost the human element; not to mention the high hope of those quaint days when flight would create ''one world.'' Instead of one world, we…
By Dr. Mark Showalter Senior Research Scientist at the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute Four and a half billion years ago, a fluffy "snowball" coalesced out of the cloud of ice, dust and debris still surrounding our Sun. Most of the snowballs like it later…
Imagine yourself in a room surrounded by eleven objects arranged in a circle. You memorize the position of the objects, then you close your eyes, and rotate a third of the way around (120°). Keeping your eyes closed, can you point to the object that was behind you before? Most people can do this…

Wow. The new one looks like a beginner cg animation with a rotating textured sphere. The old one is gorgeous. You sure the new one's not just a mockup?

By Scrabcake (not verified) on 24 Jan 2010 #permalink


Why is the new one not showing the individual sections rotating as distinctly as the 1979 version? Its as if they just took a ball and wallpapered it with a still photograph of the surface of Jupiter, then spun the ball. What is the cause of the lack of detail in the individual bands movements? Is it the fact that the older version was time lapsed every 9.8 hours for a total of 66 frames? And how was the new one shot? Was it a continuous feed? Or was it also a collection of individual frames similar to the older version?

Also reminds me of the newer deep field photo as compaired to the older one. The older one appeared to be a crisper more detailed photo, where as the newer one seemed fuzzier and less clear. I understand the improvement in the latest deep field because you explained why it was. As for this old vs. new comparison i fail too see what's superior.

I'm wondering why the Jupiter as seen by Voyager is so flat. Has the planet inflated since? :P I had a Sony Vidicon camera and recorder from that era and spheres looked round. Ah, the good ol' Vidicon - it had some interesting characteristics.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

One video was assembled from pictures centered on a particular place in Jupiper's atmospher with one picture taken each rotation of the planet.

The other video shows a one single rotation of the planet.

So they are not like different versions of the same song. They are like two completely different songs. One song is about atmospheric turbulence and the other song is about planetary rotation.

In truth, the New Horizons spacecraft did return a huge amount of new data about atmospheric turbulence. It's just that the song Ethan posted for New Horizons was not about turbulence which is why you didn't hear turbulence it.

Sorry for all the typos. Jupiper? This blog got me so annoyed my typing fingers went out of control. :)

Makes perfect sense. Thank you Robert and sorry we annoyed you. :(

I did not mean that you annoyed me. You and others asked good questions based on what you were given. You just weren't given the whole story.

I was annoyed with Ethan who said the newer video was analagous to a cover song which it is not. And Ethan failed to respond to your excellent questions. So that's why I was annoyed with him.

And I'm annoyed with constant SPAM on science blogs by an a-hole promoted a book about his f-ing dog in the phyical science section where it is hard for me to escape. So I don't come here very often. Probably not again until the dog spammer goes away, which appears to be never.

"it took this time-lapse video of Jupiter rotating"
"Over the course of about 4 weeks, it took a picture of Jupiter every 9.8 hours or so: the amount of time it takes to make one complete rotation"
Looks like Ethan explained it pretty well to me.

By anonymous (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink