Saturday, June 21, 2008

I could watch this for hours

Every once in a while (mostly when digging through wikipedia), one encounters a cool animated image of an object in the solar system. The animation of lunar libration above is a new favorite. (click the image for a larger version.)

So often, extraterrestrial objects exist only as abstractions. Sure, Jupiter is big, but how does one really get a handle on exactly how big? How does one relate? And more importantly, what would the thing look like if you were looking at it through the window of a spaceship? What's so great about this animation of the moon is that it really gives a sense of the concreteness of the object, its approach and retreat from the Earth during its orbit, and the wobble of its axis of rotation. Very cool.

(Also very cool, The Hubble Ultra Deep Field, as per Robin Sloan.)

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