Jupiter and beyond the infinite

by Matthew Cobb

Watch this on full screen with your speakers turned up and your mind-expanding drug of choice to hand.

This animation by Seán Doran uses the stunning images recently sent back by the Juno probe. Nobody was expecting the degree of complexity in Jupiter’s multiple storm systems – it really is an extraordinary sight.

The music is by Ligeti (pronounced LIG-ehti) and, if you don’t the cinematic reference in both the title of the post and the choice of music, they are taken from Stanley Kubrick’s masterwork, 2001: A Space Odyssey, when the sole surviving astronaut, Dave Bowman, leaves the stricken spacecraft and journeys into, well – that’s up to you. If you haven’t seen the film, I think you can safely watch this brief extract to get an idea – it won’t spoil your enjoyment when you eventually watch it.


  1. Paul Schoeckel
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink


  2. nwalsh
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Enchanting! Let us not forget Frank Poole also made it alive albeit a thousand years later. Really miss Sir Arthur.

    • Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      My obit for Arthur C Clarke just read ‘One by one the stars are going out’.

      • Posted May 30, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Ah yes, The Nine Billion Names of God! I was obsessed as a senior in High School with seeing “2001:A Space Odyssey”. I even convinced my parents into taking me to see it, in wide screen Panavision in Cincinnati Ohio.

        The music is quite appropiate.

  3. Mark Reaume
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Goose bumps!

  4. lutesuite
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    No, the video isn’t a spoiler. But “sole surviving astronaut” sure is!

  5. Barry Lyons
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Ligeti, by the way, is one of my favorite abstract composers (not all late 20th century orchestral composers wrote music in an abstract manner). Check out “Atmospheres” and “Lontano.” Those are two of my favorite compositions by him. I also love his 18 piano etudes, but that’s for another time.

    • Posted May 30, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      If I remember correctly the music on this video as well as that in “2001” is from “Atmospheres”.

    • Posted May 30, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I was intrigued by the obvious bands. Then, as we back off in a polar view after about minute two, it is evident those are latitudinal weather zones. Very neat.

  6. Posted May 30, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    That was a nicely stitched sequence. On another subject, have you ever looked at the back of your hand? I mean have you ever really looked at it?

    • Dee
      Posted May 30, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink


  7. Randy schenck
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I think that was 1968 if memory is correct.

  8. James Walker
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Coincidentally I just re-watched 2001 (and the less impressive 2010) after finding them on the SBS On Demand channel. 2001 is still visually (and audially(?)) stunning, but what struck me after watching it again after many years is how ambitious they were in their predictions about technological change and how unimaginative they were in their predictions about social change.

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Science fiction in general has been like that, as far as I can tell.

      As for 2010, I, like former internet reviewer Confused Matthew, find 2010 to be the better *movie*. (This isn’t to say that it is a terrific one – it isn’t.) 2001 is a pretty slide show with lovely music – and if that’s what you want, that’s great – it is one of the best of those, but plot? What plot?? It doesn’t *go anywhere*. (This is just the movie – the book is better this way.)

      • jwthomas
        Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        2001 is poorly edited, has too many unnecesary scenes and should have been cut to no more than two hours. But the first sequence and the last are awesome enough to save it. Strange coming from a director whose first two films were tightly edited.

  9. Michael Fisher
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    A lot of work! Amazed he uploaded this so soon after flyby 06 took place

    The Juno craft spins once per 30 seconds & I think each still is 5 minutes apart. There is major image stitching going on – judging from the line of black dots [which is the shadow track of one of the Jovian moons]

    The image is transformed onto a globe perspective from a Juno POV [calculated for the position on the trajectory of Juno at each shot interval].

    • Posted May 30, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I hadn’t noticed the line of black dots. Thanks for pointing it out.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted May 30, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        @Joe D Jupiter is on an axial tilt of only 3 degrees, but the moon shadow tracks are far from parallel to the bands/equator. Puzzles me because the moons with eccentric orbits are far out [man] & small – surprised those ones make a shadow

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted May 30, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Even though the ring plane may be inclined to the ecliptic by only three degrees, its projection on Jupiter’s surface can be inclined at a much steeper angle due to foreshortening. That is, the entire sunward half of a moon’s orbit is compressed horizontally (but not vertically) to Jupiter’s radius to form the shadow we see.

  10. rickflick
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    The new views of Jupiter we’re getting enhances it’s beauty. The idea that science tends to degrade the poetry and romance in nature is wrong.

  11. Steven Hill
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 9:24 pm | Permalink


    And an interesting experiment for pareidolia. Go and watch it again now I have mentioned that you can see human faces, bulls’ heads,dogs and babies in the storm patterns!

    • Steven Hill
      Posted May 30, 2017 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      And a horse’s head right at the beginning!

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      And so many eyeballs!

    • Colin McLachlan
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      I was half expecting the character from Edvard Munch’s Scream to appear.

  12. Kevin
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Ligeti And Kubrick. A time of giants.

  13. dd
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne, wanted to point this out to you about the alleged anti-Muslim rant of the Portland stabber…he had been ranting about all religions. Media seems to have made some narrative-friendly edits in the story….


  14. Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Darwin may have said “endless forms most beautiful” for the biological part of the universe, but it applies to many worlds and such as well. (And they, in a way, have gone through selection processes too, though not random mutation exactly.)

  15. Zetopan
    Posted June 2, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    And of course the loony tune flakes are immediately out in force claiming that the images are actually faked CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) since Jupitor has to be as flat as the Earth, or something similar that is equally stupid.

    • Zetopan
      Posted June 2, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      I failed to mention: go to the YouTube version of the above and read the comments.

  16. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 6, 2017 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Just managed to watch now. There are no words, from me anyways, as a comment – I’m speechless…

    Except those six pale discs at the equator- wondering about those.

    I didn’t listen to sound but I get Ligeti.

    Thank you! Would’ve missed this otherwise if not for WEIT. But that’s me.

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