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Full Version: MESSENGER takes a family portrait of the solar system
Unmanned Spaceflight.com > Inner Solar System and the Sun > Mercury > Messenger
tedstryk
What happened to Mars?
tasp
Extreme right edge.
Stu
Too small? Too near the Sun? Good question!
tedstryk
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).
djellison
Mars is in it...

Full size version from that link from Stu
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/517613m...system_full.jpg

Better link is probably Messengers own page

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/scienc...mp;image_id=399

centsworth_II
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
tedstryk
Ah, much better.
ElkGroveDan
What abut Pl....

never mind.
Explorer1
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.
ilbasso
Also nice to see the Milky Way and dust lanes to the left of Mars.
brellis
My god -- it's full of stars!
elakdawalla
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?
nprev
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?
ZLD
Heres the link to the actual full resolution version (non-annotated): http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/images/family_portrait_wac.png (warning:22mb)

Quite an awesome picture.
elakdawalla
Is this better?
nprev
Stick a fork in it; it's done! tongue.gif Perfect, Emily!
ZLD
That's a great comparison Emily; really puts both in perspective very nicely.
ugordan
Pretty cool mosaic and they get extra points from me for catching the Milky Way.
ngunn
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?
ugordan
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.
elakdawalla
It's because of the perspective; it widens toward the viewer. Here's the view from the Solar System Simulator.
ngunn
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.

nprev
The educational value of the poster is becoming rapidly evident from the discussion! wink.gif
ngunn
Yes. Clearly I must spend more time on the simulator before I'm allowed on the away team.
nprev
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
lyford
That is very awesome Emily! I was just wishing someone would make that.... smile.gif
nprev
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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