Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Orbital Crystals

I'm now calling these Orbital Crystals, being inspired by a friend who's into rock crystals.  These images/structures I'm creating with the JPL Horizons data have similar characteristics:

1. They form regular patterns with occasional "flaws" that adds complexity to the piece
2. They take time to form

So the orbital crystal shown below is sort of a mind-bender.  It is a plot of the angular distance (as seen from Earth) from Jupiter to Io in arc seconds (the x-axis) versus the angular distance (also as seen from Earth) from Jupiter to Europa in arc seconds (the y-axis), over the course of the year 2015.  Time resolution is 1 hour, which means 8760 data points were used to make this plot.


I also created another ribbon today using the orbits of Io and Europa.  I played with the angles in gnuplot until it looked like something sort of interesting.

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