Jupiter can be seen in a whole new light in a photo released by NASA showing the planet in the colours of the trans flag.
The photo, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in February 2017 and posted on Tuesday (October 16) on the US government space agency’s Astronomy Picture of the Day page, shows the largest planet in our Solar System in near-ultraviolet light—leading to its white, pink and blue appearance.
“Jupiter appears different in near ultraviolet light, partly because the amount of sunlight reflected back is distinct, giving differing cloud heights and latitudes discrepant brightnesses,” NASA explains on the page.
The telescope is regularly photographing the planet in order to “better interpret Jupiter’s cloud motions and to help NASA’s robotic Juno spacecraft understand the planetary context of the small fields that it sees,” NASA explained.
The swathes of colour on and around the planet match the colours of the trans flag, and even if they do not quite appear in the right order, the striking similarity has led people to claim Jupiter as a trans icon.
There are at least three separate Reddit threads about the photo, as well as a flood of tweets defining the gas giant as trans.
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One of the Reddit posts states with certainty that “this ultraviolet photo of jupiter from the hubble telescope is almost the trans flag. jupiter the planet confirmed to be canonically trans.”
The most common refrain is simply: “Jupiter is trans,” sometimes followed by a crying smiling emoticon, a command to “PASS IT ON” or an invitation to “fight me.”
Some Twitter users went even further in their proclamations, with one writing: “The Moon is a Lesbian, Jupiter is Trans, and the Earth is dying.”
We’ve heard of Mercury retrograde being the “lesbian apocalypse,” but the idea that the moon is a lesbian is a new one.
One person tweeted that “jupiter was always a trans icon,” while one Redditor asked whether this meant that Sailor Jupiter, a character from popular Japanese manga TV show Sailor Moon, was trans.
“My favourite planet is now jupiter,” said another user.
One tweeter used the opportunity to promote the public consultation on the Reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, which closes on Friday (October 19).
She wrote: “Trans Jupiter says to fill out the consultation for the #GRAReform and tell the government to support self ID for trans folk, and to include non-binary people and trans children” above a link to the public consultation form.
And another Twitter user went on full art critic mode, tweeting: “Well this is an excellent image of Jupiter in UV light, which makes the colours appear like a beautiful rendition of the Trans* flag painted by Van Gogh, which thereby renders this Excellent^2.”