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Full Version: MESSENGER takes a family portrait of the solar system
Unmanned > Inner Solar System and the Sun > Mercury > Messenger
What happened to Mars?
Extreme right edge.
Too small? Too near the Sun? Good question!
What is odd is that they make clear that Uranus and Neptune are in the frames but invisible, while the absence of Mars isn't even acknowledged (Mercury too).
Mars is in it...

Full size version from that link from Stu

Better link is probably Messengers own page;image_id=399

QUOTE (tedstryk @ Feb 18 2011, 12:39 PM) *
....the absence of Mars isn't even acknowledged (Mercury too).
Poor Saturn. No one noticed that Saturn is not in the "mini" version sad.gif
Ah, much better.
What abut Pl....

never mind.
Very pretty!
It's like the reverse of Voyager 1's last look, except before the main mission begins instead of the end.
They probably won't get another chance once in orbit, so best to do it now.
Also nice to see the Milky Way and dust lanes to the left of Mars.
My god -- it's full of stars!
Very cool!!!

I'm putting together a poster containing both family portraits. Here's a first draft without any caption yet (working on writing that now). Anybody have any comments or suggestions for improving it?
Sweet idea, Emily! Looks good, but it's a bit of a problem to get all that data in one coherent instantly-obvious form...obviously! tongue.gif I'll look at it again.

EDIT: To a casual not-familiar observer, it's hard to determine which set is from Messenger & which is from Voyager. Is there room to put the orbital sketches adjacent to their respective sets, perhaps at opposite corners diagonally?
Heres the link to the actual full resolution version (non-annotated): (warning:22mb)

Quite an awesome picture.
Is this better?
Stick a fork in it; it's done! tongue.gif Perfect, Emily!
That's a great comparison Emily; really puts both in perspective very nicely.
Pretty cool mosaic and they get extra points from me for catching the Milky Way.
What a great idea! But the orbit of Neptune looks a bit out of kilter in the lower diagram. Shouldn't it be fairly circular and concentric with the others?
Nothing wrong with that. Voyager 1 didn't look at the solar system from an infinite distance so this perspective effect is normal. Unlike the MESSENGER graphic which shows the solar system from "above". It's the upper diagram that's technically meaningless.
It's because of the perspective; it widens toward the viewer. Here's the view from the Solar System Simulator.
OK, thanks. smile.gif

The (small) inclinations and eccentricities of the orbits must be conspiring with the perspective too. Simplistically I'd expect Saturn-Uranus-Neptune to be approximately evenly spaced on any radius but that's clearly not the case from this viewpoint, even allowing for the perspective.

The educational value of the poster is becoming rapidly evident from the discussion! wink.gif
Yes. Clearly I must spend more time on the simulator before I'm allowed on the away team.
I'm with ya, Nigel! biggrin.gif Heck, the only way I know where I am at any given time is through sensing an acceleration of 9.8 m/sec on the soles of my cheap dolomite feet...

EDIT: Not to be a smartass, and I apologize if it came off that way at all. This poster stimulates discussion, and thus is inherently educational. smile.gif
That is very awesome Emily! I was just wishing someone would make that.... smile.gif
I actually never dreamed I'd see something similar in my lifetime.

We are quite lucky, you know... smile.gif...there will be many, many others after us to see such things, and in more detail, but we are the first.
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