Bruce Murray Space Image Library

The Voyager 3 project: Swedish amateur astronomers replicate Voyager 1's approach to Jupiter

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In 1979, the Voyager 1 probe took a stunning series of images on its final approach to Jupiter that clearly showed the intricate movement of the cloud belts for the first time. Thirty-five years later, almost to the day, a group of seven Swedish amateur astronomers set out to replicate this odyssey and the historical NASA footage, but with images taken with their own ground-based telescopes.

The text in the video reads:

In 1979, during its final approach to Jupiter, Voyager 1 sent back this stunning sequence of images taken over 28 days.

Thirty-five years later, in December of 2013, seven amateur astronomers from Sweden started Voyager 3, a joint project to recreate this sequence with their own images.

The weather in January and February 2014 was the worst Sweden had had in decades. Good geographical spread across Sweden helped us complete the project.

Participants included Peter Rosén, Martin Högberg, Torbjörn Holmqvist, Göran Strand, Daniel Sundström, Roger Utas, and Johan Warell.

More than 1 million frames taken over 90 days resulted in 560 still images.

We used Winjupos to map the 560 still images into cylindrical and polar projections. They were in turn stitched into complete maps that covered the whole of Jupiter's surface.

We managed to get 18 complete maps in the course of three months. The problem was that they were unevenly spaced in time.

In order to get a smooth animation, we needed one map per day so we used morphing techniques to generate the intermediate frames to fill the gaps in the timeline.

The idea for this project started many years ago. In December of 2013, we joined forces to realize our dream.

Six months later, we are finally ready to launch our probe, Voyager 3, for a flyby and close encounter with Jupiter.