Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Connecting The Dots

The past few days I've been completely taken over by the artistry and beauty I'm seeing in the orbital structures I've been creating.  This project has exploded very much out of proportion and I see no end to it.

It started with asking the question: "what does the pattern look like if I find the positions of two solar system bodies (relative to the sun) and draw a line between them at the same moment in time?"  The result of that can be seen in my Jupiter-Earth "spirograph" I put in my previous post.

Now it's gotten much more complex and interesting....

First, the plots:

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 1 shows lines drawn at 15 minute intervals between Io and Ganymede over the course of 24 hours.  The blue lines indicate the paths of the orbits, and the black dot is the location of Jupiter.

Figure 2 is when it starts getting complex and interesting.  I've once again plotted the path of Io's orbit around Jupiter.  The other blue line represents the vector distance between Ganymede and Io.  I then connect these two lines to give the figure presented.

Figure 3 is simply the combination of the two.

I have yet to figure out how to interpret these images.  Sofar it's all I can say is that if you look at Figure 4, I've marked A1, B1, A2, and B2.  As you can see, the distance and angle between A1 and B1 is the same as those between A2 and B2.  This goes, I think, for the entire plot.  All of this makes perfect sense but I have no idea if there is any other information to be extracted from this kind of plot.

So on top of that, I'm also looking at incorporation this into the JT podcast, but in a different way.  All I want to do is show the relationships between the moons as they orbit Jupiter.  So I can do things like this:

Lines between Io and Europa, 28 January 2015

Lines between Io and Ganymede, 28 January 2015

Lines between Io and Callisto, 28 January 2015

Lines between Europa and Ganymede, 28 January 2015

Lines between Europa and Callisto, 28 January 2015

Lines between Ganymede and Callisto, 28 January 2015
I like how our brains assign surfaces to all of these plots.

All lines combined, orbit lines removed

All lines combined showing orbits

So these figures show all of the possible unique combinations between the four moons of Jupiter: Io:Europa, Io:Ganymede, Io:Callisto, Europa:Ganymede, Europa:Callisto, and Ganymede:Callisto.

What does all this mean?  No idea.  But the plots are very beautiful.

This kind of thing can be done for any number of bodies in the solar system over any kind of time interval.  The possibilities are virtually endless.

However, I'm most interested in what orbital information these plots can give me.  But I have some questions -- the first being: What's happening when these lines "pile up"?  I'll continue to look at all of this and see if I can come up with some answers and more questions.

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