Nature has long been the subject of interest to humans, to the point that it has played a large part into our art through the ages, dating form early wood-cuts literally employing the materials of nature into the image. There are even genres of painting and photography dedicated to capturing natural shapes such as ‘landscape’ and ‘seascape’. Even ‘still life’ painting has an element of the natural world in it and it has served as a major element in other styles, Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, with elements appealing to art lovers and astronomy lovers alike.
It is not only limited to earthly shapes either. Cosmic formations from stars, to suns – even spiral galaxies have been considered greatly impressive not beautiful. It has gotten to the point of being being featured on tee shirts and have also made it into being part of the included options from desktop images in many makes and models of computer. There are photographers who use high-resolution, high-speed cameras to photograph star formations as they move in the night sky, often with stunning results. The next level on this meeting of astronomy and art is what is coming out of artist inspired by what is being seen from the Juno Mission.
Background on Juno
‘Juno’ is the name of a spacecraft designed by NASA with the purpose of getting closer to the surface of Jupiter than ever before, getting down below the dense cover of clouds surrounding the giant planets to collecting images from levels of it that have, as yet gone unseen, with the main objective being to investigate the process of how the planet formed and became the gas giant it is today. Originally launched on the 5th of August 2011, Juno entered the orbit of Jupiter on the 4th of July, 2016 and using tested methods of elliptical polar orbit to record Jupiter’s gravity and magnetic fields and how the atmosphere works.
Juno mission images are unexpected results
While a bit behind its schedule, artists and telescope hobbyists the world over are still jumping at the chance to see the data sent back and make art work based on it, translating the fluid, majestic, chaotic waves, sweeps and swirls of the planet’s surface. And it really is the planet’s surface. This month the Juno craft reached the closest point of which it is capable in its charted 53.5 day orbit. The artistic interpretations of the Juno Mission images are truly out of this world.
These ideas may be neat but why are we spending all this money to look at a planet, no matter how neat the art that comes out of it? This is a reasonable question, especially in light of how much space hardware can cost to design, construct, program and launch. The primary reason behind the Juno project was the theory that if were possible to understand the origins of the largest of the nine planets, it would give insight into the origins of the universe. Art exists for its own sake and people can decide whether it is worth it or not.