Jupiter in 3D

By Phil Plait | June 30, 2010 7:35 am

I love anaglyphs (3D pictures) and I love astronomy animations and I love Jupiter, so how much do you think I love this anaglyph animation of Jupiter?

[Note: the embedded version here shows it as two separate animations. Go to the YouTube page and you’ll see a 3D label at the bottom of the player. Click that, and you can set the animation to be red/green or lots of other options. Currently, I can’t seem to embed the video that way, so again I urge you to go to the YouTube page.]

This is from Chris Owen, an amateur astronomer equipped with a 25 cm (10″) Newtonian ‘scope (the same kind I had for about 20 years!). The animation shows Jupiter over the course of about 2.5 hours, with one exposure taken every five minutes. You can also watch Europa and Io, two of Jupiter’s big moons, orbiting the planet as well. He created the animation straight, then converted it to 3D. You can see the original on his DeviantArt page — that’s a 3 Mb image, which is why I didn’t embed it, but click it to see because it’s cool.

I like the 3D version; you really get a sense that Jupiter is a ball, and it’s nifty to be able to see the two moons as being farther away than the planet itself, proven positively by seeing Europa physically go behind Jupiter as it orbits. Note too that these observations were made last year, before the Southern Equatorial Belt disappeared.

While these animations are a bit of fun, I suspect they will actually give people more of a sense that these objects aren’t just points of light in the sky, but worlds. I’m a fan of things that give people a deeper connection to the Universe, so I really like these anaglyphs!


Comments (15)

  1. Pi-needles

    By Jove, its a Jovian egg – or, rather, *two* identical Jovian eggs! ūüėČ

    But what will hatch out of them and how big an omelette can we make with those! :-)

    & OMG! Something’s playing with Jupiter and getting our solar system’s largest planet to stop and start spinning in different directions!! :-O ūüėČ

    Cool videoclip. 8)

  2. 3d does not seem to work with me. Maybe it is because I am far sighted in eye and near sighted in other.

  3. Pi-needles

    Actually BA you should’ve posted this during Easter – or the equinox! ūüėČ

    Can you get a Jovian egg to stand on end – twice? Hmmm .. painting eggs to look like Jupiter (or other planets) isn’t such a bad idea come to think of it. :-)

  4. Pi-needles:

    By Jove,

    You owe me a new keyboard.

  5. Randy A.

    Actually Phil, the version posted on your blog is just fine.

    Remember those “magic” pictures that were popular back in the 90s? Use the same technique… Let your eyes relax. The two images will start to drift closer together, when they overlap, you can focus again, and you’ll see it in 3D!

    I’m a geologist, and I’ve used stereoscopic aerial photos for many years. Seeing the pictures in 3D without a stereoscope is second nature. It’s also a heck of a lot easier that red/green glasses — which never work exactly right for me, since I’m red-green color blind…

    Great post, and keep up the good work!

  6. So if the left eye was on Earth, where was the right eye? It has to have been pretty far away to generate that much parallax…

  7. Oh, I just realized, he probably just used subsequent images out of phase. Right.

  8. @Fluffy – Yup, that’s exactly what I did. The sequence of images on the right was offset by 2 or 3 frames (I can’t remember the exact number).

  9. Hedgie

    I just tried three different kinds of 3D glasses and couldn’t get it to work once. :(

  10. @ Hedgie

    The above animation is not for 3D glasses, but rather for the cross-eyed viewing technique.

    If you set your face, say, about ~ 18″ (about a foot-and-a-half) from your comp., screen. Slightly cross your eyes until you get a middle image of the two in the centre. Voila…3D…hopefully for you.

    There’s also the parallel viewing technique (again, no 3D glasses required), involving looking into the image at a distant point, however, it’s more difficult.

    Such techniques are known as ‘stereogram’ viewing, while anaglyph viewing is using the 3d glasses.

    (Moon Altas guy)

  11. @ John

    It only appears as a squished cross-eyed video in the embedded video. If you follow the link to the youtube page, the youtube player has a set of 3D options that allows you to change viewing techniques.

  12. Neil

    Hi there

    How much could I get ‘a 25 cm (10‚Ä≥) Newtonian ‚Äôscope’ for…? What should I look for…?

  13. Trebuchet

    As seems to be usual for me, the images are too far apart for me to bring together cross-eyed. Don’t know if that’s just my age or what.


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