Friday, May 27, 2011

Foreign Skies: Daytime

When I wrote my first post on this blog, I wanted to include some photoshopped images of to-scale Jupiter hanging in the sky as it would above Ganymede and Io. At the time, I didn't have any good photos of the moon to compare with and paste over and I didn't want to steal something from Google Image Search so I put it off. I still don't have any good, cloudless photos of the moon at night with a suitably urban back drop. Instead, I decided to put my (very average) photoshopping skills to use and make a daytime Jupiter in the sky.

A caveat: Ganymede and Io both lack atmospheres that even remotely resemble Earth's. As a result, you wouldn't get a blue sky on either, even under a biodome of some sort (there wouldn't be enough air in the dome to have that effect). Instead the sky would be black outside of the giant orb of Jupiter (which, when full, would definitely be bright enough to make it hard to see stars).

So you shouldn't treat these images as "what the sky would look like on Ganymede/Io" more as an indication of how large Jupiter would be in the Earth's sky if you put it in Ganymede's/Io's place.

First! The original photo with the Earth's natural moon left in (taken with my phone, so it could be awesomer, but it served its purpose):

Unlike Earth, Ganymede and Io are unlikely ever have gum trees. Just saying. (Click to enlarge.)

For the remaining compositions, this APOD image is the shot of Jupiter I used. Credit to NASA, ESA, and E. Karkoschka (U. Arizona).

Next up, Jupiter as seen from Ganymede. I left the moon in for the first one, just so you can visually compare sizes better:

To scale, albeit physically unrealistic. I don't think Jupiter would quite be that colour either (particularly the edges wouldn't be so dark, but I couldn't fix it) and of course the lighting is all wrong. (Click to enlarge.)

Just Jupiter alone in the Ganymedian sky:

Jupiter in Earth's sky if Earth was in Ganymede's orbit around the gas giant. (Click to enlarge.)

And, last one, the size of Jupiter in Io's sky. Large doesn't really cover it.

Jupiter looming as though over the Io skyline. Of course, Io is even less likely than Ganymede to have apartment buildings on it, but shh! (Click to enlarge.)

And there you have it. Once I have a decent night skyline with the moon in it, I will repeat this but at night. It will be significantly awesomer. I just have to get some night photography in first.

EDIT: I have made some similar images for Jupiter from Europa and Callisto and the sun as seen from the Jovian system. See my new post here.


  1. I was kinda afraid that Jupiter would take up pretty much all of the sky on Io. I'm wondering if there is an easy way to tell which way the stripes would run. I suspect it has something to do with the latitude on the body you're standing on, and the inclination of the orbit. All that stuff tends to do my head in. I figure if you're at the subjovia point on either, Jupiter would be straight above, but I don't know which way you'd see the stripes. Any further north of south would bring Jupiter closer to the north or south horizon, and the same for east or west. Again, I have no idea about the stripes.

  2. Because all the four Galilean moons are close and in fairly un-inclined orbits (all less than a degree off the Jovian ecliptic), the stripes would run east-west (rotational east-west, that is, since the magnetic fields are a bit interesting). You could totally use them to navigate, especially if Jupiter was above a horizon (as in, not directly overhead so you could distinguish easily between east and west).

    Spot on about moving north or south. I think (without working it out or anything) that you must still see it from the poles, then once you started moving towards the ante-Jovian point (yes, I just made that word up) it would fall beneath the horizon.


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