The planet in the sky
April 7, 2011 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a picture of Jupiter or Saturn as seen from their moons.

My google skills are failing me here, so I'm turning to you guys. I'm looking for an artist's take (or a photo if there are actually any of them) of what Jupiter would look like from, say Ganymede or Io, or what Saturn would look like from Titan or Europa. The pictures would preferably be from the larger satellites. This ties into some world building I've been doing and I was planning on putting a hot Jupiter in earth's orbit and then having the people live on a moon sized in between earth and Mars. I've checked with some people who reassure me that given the right atmosphere, the world could be livable, so now I'm trying to get an idea of what the sky would look like with the planet overhead.

(I can't believe I'm going this crazy over world building for a fantasy setting. But I'm sick of the "eight moons overhead" around an earth like planet. I know it's possible, it's just boring.)
posted by Hactar to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Try these:

Saturn Rise

Jupiter Rise

Is there any particular aspect you're trying to figure out? Celestia might help with your visualization. You can put yourself right down into Titan's atmosphere and watch Saturn rise in real-time.
posted by General Tonic at 12:28 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Saturn from Mimas. Mimas is a lot closer to Saturn than Titan is, but for that reason it's a more spectacular view.
posted by lukemeister at 12:38 PM on April 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

You're welcome.
posted by empath at 12:39 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: General Tonic and lukemeister, those a fantastic. I'm going to go download Celestia now.

empath, that's really cool, but a little closer than I was thinking.
posted by Hactar at 12:45 PM on April 7, 2011

The movie Pitch Black featured a planet or moon with a ringed gas giant visible in the sky. I thought it was strikingly beautiful when I saw it in the movie, but the screen shots I've seen online are less impressive. That being said, I don't know how scientifical the filmmakers were about this, in terms of the gravitational effects such a planet would have, and so on, but my guess is "not very." For instance, I doubt such a double-ring system is likely or even possible; perhaps someone else might know for sure.

Not strictly related, but possibly also inspirational: What the Earth would look like if it had rings like Saturn.
posted by gentian at 1:19 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ironically, MeFi just had a post about Solar System Scope, which I hadn't seen until I read about it in Openculture. I'm not sure it's relevant, but it looks pretty!
posted by lukemeister at 3:22 PM on April 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Search Google Images for Chesley Bonestell for some lovely artwork. A bit dated but genuinely classic. His Saturn as Seen from Titan was painted in 1944 and no one has done it better, IMHO.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 4:19 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A better link. Not the greatest quality, but still damn impressive.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 4:20 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's a flickr gallery with some nice images of ringed-planets in the sky. These were done using Celestia and Terragen.
posted by General Tonic at 8:54 AM on April 8, 2011

You have seen this photomontage from the 1980 Voyager 1 flyby?

Well, if you hadn't, now you have. Actual photos of the planet and its moons, pasted all together in an astronomically-plausible orientation. Dione is small, so if you were actually standing on it the view of the rest of the objects would be similar.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Sockpuppetry at 10:25 PM on April 9, 2011

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