Why is it so hard to find actual pictures of how planets/moons would look to the human eye?

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

The human eyes isn’t fantastic at collecting faint light, and the brain doesn’t stack photons. Space with human eyes is pretty boring, obscure and opaque. That is why for centuries we never quite understood what was going on up there, influencing gravely our philosophies, religions and cultures. You should be instead thankful and in awe to live in such an age when true images of deep space are brought to your very eyes. It’s an amazing chance to understand a bit more about our universe, rather than imagining fairy tales for all answers. In a few billions years, the fabric of the universe would have accelerated so much, the light of the closest galaxy near us wouln’t go fast enough to reach us or anyone else on another galaxy. Everyone will feel impossibly alone. Therefore, enjoy the time we live when we can *see* our universe by all means necessary.

AstroPixelCollector

No I don’t mind. Human limitations shouldn’t be the limitations of our tools and, as someone else said, we do have regular telescopes. This is like asking if I mind visualizations of atoms. The more accurate the better, but I have no other real world option to see an atom or Io so I’ll take these representations until I do.

Rujtu3

One thing to keep in mind is that all digital cameras are always trying to approximate what colors the human eye would see. Which is why cameras have white balance settings (and others); since the light reflecting off of an object you are looking at effects the colors you perceive. The color of sunlight is effected by our atmosphere, clouds, whether it is direct light or diffused, etc. Our Sun is basically white light but we see it as yellowish due to our atmosphere. But if the sun is low in the sky causing the light hitting your eyes to go through more atmosphere, the light turns orange/red – think sunsets. Dust makes it more red. Direct sunlight will be that yellow, but indirect sun is more blue. Long story short, everything you see around you would actually be perceived as a slightly different color on Io or Callisto. A picture of Io or Callisto from space would look different than if that photo was taken from the surface of Earth.

steevenK

I agree. I don’t care if it looks more boring, I want to know what it would look like if I was out there seeing it. I don’t care about mapping other wavelengths and blah blah blah, I just want to know how the thing looks. It’s the same as me enjoying the view of a mountain range without caring about what type of rocks it’s made out of. It can be about the spectacle rather than information. There’s a similar problem with overly processed images that are approximated to true colour but look like 3D renders. I automatically can’t connect with that image even though it is real and a spacecraft actually went there. I understand that NASA and other space agencies are staffed by nerds who care about the fine details, but I think it actually constitutes a failure in communication with the public to not go out of their way to collect and share true colour images.

ballsoutofthebathtub

I was helping my son to make model planets on his wall. I thought, let’s make it to scale. That was a while ago, but it turned out that to fit uranus on the same wall as the sun, jupiter would be a disappointing golf ball and Mercury to Mars would have pin heads marking the position, but the pins would have been larger than scale. The sun wouldn’t fit, you have to just show the edge of the sun. Turn the scale the other way around, making visible planets – the school hall wasn’t long enough.

Craigus_Conquerer