Tag Archives: Jupiter

Behold the busy surface and inner orbit of Jupiter. There’s a lot going on. To wit:

Largest and furthest, just right of center, is the Great Red Spot — a huge storm system that has been raging on Jupiter possibly since Giovanni Cassini‘s likely notation of it 355 years ago. It is not yet known why this Great Spot is red. The spot toward the lower left is one of Jupiter’s largest moons: Europa. Images from Voyager in 1979 bolster the modern hypothesis that Europa has an underground ocean and is therefore a good place to look for extraterrestrial life. But what about the dark spot on the upper right? That is a shadow of another of Jupiter’s large moons: Io. Voyager 1 discovered Io to be so volcanic that no impact craters could be found. Sixteen frames from Voyager 1’s flyby of Jupiter in 1979 were recently reprocessed and merged to create the featured image. About 43 years ago, Voyager 1 launched from Earth and started one of the greatest explorations of the Solar System ever.

(Image: NASA, Voyager 1, JPL, Caltech; Processing & License: Alexis Tranchandon / Solaris)

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Behold: the mighty gas giant Jupiter getting its Hallowe’en pumpkin on: captured in infrared by astronomers at the Gemini North Observatory in Hawaii. To wit:

Gemini was able to produce such a clear image using a technique called lucky imaging, by taking many images and combining only the clearest ones that, by chance, were taken when Earth’s atmosphere was the most calm. Jupiter’s jack-o’-lantern-like appearance is caused by the planet’s different layers of clouds. Infrared light can pass through clouds better than visible light, allowing us to see deeper, hotter layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere, while the thickest clouds appear dark. These pictures, together with ones from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Juno spacecraft, can tell us a lot about weather patterns on Jupiter, like where its massive, planet-sized storms form.

(Image: International Gemini Observatory, NOIRLab, NSF, AURA; M. H. Wong (UC Berkeley) & Team; Acknowledgment: Mahdi Zamani; Text: Alex R. Howe (NASA/USRA, Reader’s History of SciFi Podcast)

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Behold: Europa –  fourth largest of Jupiter’s 79 moons and fictional forbidden location of future intelligent life in Arthur C. Clarke’s ’2010: Odyssey Two’ (1982) and Peter Hyam’s 1984 film adaptation ‘2010: The Year We Make Contact’.

Looping through the Jovian system in the late 1990s, the Galileo spacecraft recorded stunning views of Europa and uncovered evidence that the moon’s icy surface likely hides a deep, global ocean. Galileo’s Europa image data has been remastered here, using improved new calibrations to produce a color image approximating what the human eye might see. Europa’s long curving fractures hint at the subsurface liquid water. The tidal flexing the large moon experiences in its elliptical orbit around Jupiter supplies the energy to keep the ocean liquid. But more tantalizing is the possibility that even in the absence of sunlight that process could also supply the energy to support life, making Europa one of the best places to look for life beyond Earth. What kind of life could thrive in a deep, dark, subsurface ocean? Consider planet Earth’s own extreme shrimp.

Larger image here.

(Image: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SETI Institute, Cynthia Phillips, Marty Valenti)

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The Abyss – that’s what NASA is calling this unusually dark cloud feature observed by the Juno probe during its latest pass over Jupiter. To wit:

Surrounding cloud patterns show the Abyss to be at the center of a vortex. Since dark features on Jupiter’s atmosphere tend to run deeper than light features, the Abyss may really be the deep hole that it appears — but without more evidence that remains conjecture. The Abyss is surrounded by a complex of meandering clouds and other swirling storm systems, some of which are topped by light coloured, high-altitude clouds. The featured image was captured last month while Juno passed only about 15,000 kilometres above Jupiter’s cloud tops. The next close pass of Juno near Jupiter will be in July.

(Image: NASAJunoSwRIMSSSProcessing & LicenseGerald Eichstädt & Sean Doran)

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Two 1998 observations of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa by the Galileo spacecraft stitched together by NASA engineer Kevin Gill. He geeks off thus:

Processed using low resolution color images (IR, Green, Violet) from March 29 1998 overlaying higher resolution unfiltered images taken September 26 1998. Map projected to Mercator, scale is approximately 225.7 meters per pixel, representing a span of about 1,500 kilometers.

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Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 08.51.04

John McKeon, from Swords, Dublin, writes:

This is the time-lapse of processed images leading to the impact on Jupiter March 17. The original purpose of the imaging session was to get this time-lapse, with a happy coincidence of the impact in the second last capture of the night.

Each of the images in the time lapse are clear because they have been processed from 55 seconds of video. the impact itself however only lasts less than two seconds, so I have shown this part without processing.

The time lapse was made using an 11″ SCT with an ASI120mm camera and Ir-pass 742nm filter.

Related: Jupiter Just Got Hit by a Comet or Asteroid … Again (Space.com)

Thanks Barry Higgins

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa8mRSeDbok&feature=player_embedded

Over the next month keep an eye on Venus-Jupiter planetary duo as they quickly begin to converge in the sky. This weekend the two will be separated by about 23 degrees; by the end of the month it will be half that, and by mid March they will be less than 3 degrees. That’s equal to the width of your three middle fingers held at arms’ length!

Mmf.

Night Sky News: Gaze Up at a Planetary Showcase (Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic)

Thanks Karl Woodhouse