Epic Planetary Approach Videos

The European Space Agency recently released this video from Mars Express’ low-resolution Visual Monitoring Camera, covering 10 orbits of the red planet.  It’s quite beautiful.

But it got me thinking — surely there are videos of other planetary approaches, right?  But of course!  I’m quite fond of this video made out of selected Cassini images from an eight-year period, and set to the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata:

Go back a bit further, and here’s Cassini’s encounter with Jupiter:

Both animations are in black and white, because the images returned by Cassini are all black and white; to get color, the same image is shot three times through different filters, and then a technician has to manually colorize and assemble them.

This next video is in color, but over a shorter period of time so you don’t get that sense of approach.  It’s of Jupiter, created from images taken by Voyager 1.  Each frame corresponds to one revolution of the giant planet (or 10 hours) so you’d never see it like this really; the time-lapse has frozen the planet’s rotation so we can clearly see the motion of the clouds.  But it’s cool:

To get more of an idea of its rotation, here’s New Horizons’ take on it:

This one’s shorter, but the amount of motion visible is amazing.  It’s Io from New Horzions:

And now I’ll finish with another Cassini timelapse at Saturn, because Saturn is the most visually dramatic planet for this sort of thing.  This one shows the approach and orbital capture, and it’s basically the same concept as the one above, except they’ve done the postprocessing to convert the images to color, and further cleaned them up to get the best quality possible:

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