Tag Archives: orbit

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)


Behold: the Moon, Mars, Saturn and Venus lined up – a complete coincidence, but not by coincidence. To wit:

…all of the planets orbit the Sun in (nearly) a single sheet called the plane of the ecliptic. When viewed from inside that plane — as Earth dwellers are likely to do — the planets all appear confined to a single band. It is a coincidence, though, when three of the brightest planets all appear in nearly the same direction. Such a coincidence was captured about a month ago. Featured above, Earth’s Moon, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter were all imaged together, just before sunrise, from the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. A second band is visible diagonally across this image — the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. If you wake up early, you will find that these same planets remain visible in the morning sky this month, too.

(Image: Mihail Minkov)


German educational design studio Kurzgesagt explores an alternative means of getting to space. To wit:

Getting to space is incredibly hard, expensive and needs a lot of resources. A more efficient way to get there is a Skyhook (or Spacetether), an ever rotating cable with a counter weight, that catapults spaceships from earth orbit into the depths of space. 

Previously: Extreme And Violent Things

An image of five Saturnine moons above the ring plane captured in 2011, by the Cassini spacecraft’s narrow-angle camera. To wit:

Left to right are small moons Janus and Pandora respectively 179 and 81 kilometres across, shiny 504 kilometre diameter Enceladus, and Mimas, 396 kilometres across, seen just next to Rhea. Cut off by the right edge of the frame, Rhea is Saturn’s second largest moon at 1,528 kilometres across. So how many moons does Saturn have? Twenty new found outer satellites bring its total to 82 known moons, and since Jupiter’s moon total stands at 79, Saturn is the Solar System’s new moon king. The newly announced Saturnian satellites are all very small, 5 kilometres or so in diameter, and most are in retrograde orbits inclined to Saturn’s ringplane.

(Image: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, NASA )