Tag Archives: Jupiter

Behold: two gas giants passing in the night. What do you mean you missed it? To wit:

Two days ago Jupiter and Saturn passed a tenth of a degree from each other in what is known a Great Conjunction. Although the two planets pass each other on the sky every 20 years, this was the closest pass in nearly four centuries. Taken early in day of the Great Conjunction, the featured multiple-exposure combination captures not only both giant planets in a single frame, but also Jupiter’s four largest moons (left to right) Callisto, Ganymede, Io, and Europa — and Saturn’s largest moon Titan. If you look very closely, the clear Chilescope image even captures Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The now-separating planets can still be seen remarkably close — within about a degree — as they set just after the Sun, toward the west, each night for the remainder of the year.

(Image: Damian Peach)

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The approach of Mars is so over.

For the next two months, Saturn and Jupiter will take centre stage in the night sky, drawing closer to earth and appearing closer together. To wit:

…in mid-December, a Great Conjunction will occur — when the two planets will appear only 0.1 degrees apart — just one fifth the angular diameter of the full Moon. And this isn’t just any Great ConjunctionSaturn (left) and Jupiter (right) haven’t been this close since 1623, and won’t be nearly this close again until 2080. This celestial event is quite easy to see — already the two planets are easily visible toward the southwest just after sunset — and already they are remarkably close. Pictured, the astrophotographer and partner eyed the planetary duo above the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks of Lavaredo) in the Italian Alps about two weeks ago.

(Image: Giorgia Hofer)

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One, right?

Wrong. To wit:

.. take a closer look at the object on the upper right. That seeming-star is actually the planet Jupiter, and your closer look might reveal that it is not alone – it is surrounded by some of its largest moons. From left to right these Galilean Moons are Io, Ganymende, Europa and Callisto. These moons orbit the Jovian world just like the planets of our Solar System orbit the Sun, in a line when seen from the side. The featured single shot was captured from Cancun, Mexico last week as Luna, in its orbit around the Earth, glided past the distant planet. Even better views of Jupiter are currently being captured by NASA‘s Juno spacecraft, now in a looping orbit around the Solar System’s largest planet. Earth’s Moon will continue to pass nearly in front of both Jupiter and Saturn once a month (moon-th) as the two giant planets approach their own great conjunction in December.

(Image: Robert Fedez)

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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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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