Tag Archives: Jupiter

A Van Gogh Painting? NASA Releases Photo of a Dazzling Jupiter That’s Beyond Realistic

Jupiter, Juno Spacecraft, Vincent Van Gogh

Jupiter is back yet again, showcasing what its surface has in store artistically, making it look as if it’s a piece of art. So far, Jupiter is the most photographed planet in our solar system, even more than the Earth itself (which is often taken by astronauts aboard the ISS.) All of the photos are taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, and later uploaded on social media and their official blog. Over the time Jupiter has had many surfaces, in many colours—including the Great Red Spot—but yet this had been far more dazzling, to that of a masterpiece of a famous painter (take Van Gogh, if you will.)  Thus, the images Juno captures give NASA, as well as scientists and astronomers (who knows, maybe even followers of NASA) grief as to their early plan to extend Juno’s mission, instead of letting it plow before Jupiter’s atmosphere.

According to NASA’s official blog post—for which contained the first bit of the photograph—the image for where the distance was taken was approximately 9,600 miles, above the planet’s cloud tops. And although the distance can be long, there’s plenty to see, due to the fact that the planet is so massive.

NASA stated in the blog post, “The region seen here is somewhat chaotic and turbulent, given the various swirling cloud formations. In general, the darker cloud material is deeper in Jupiter’s atmosphere, while bright cloud material is high. The bright clouds are most likely ammonia or ammonia and water, mixed with a sprinkling of unknown chemical ingredients.

“A bright oval at bottom center stands out in the scene. This feature appears uniformly white in ground-based telescope observations. However, with JunoCam we can observe the fine-scale structure within this weather system, including other structures within it. There is not significant motion apparent in the interior of this feature; like the Great Red Spot, its winds probably slows down greatly toward the center.”

With countless mini swirls, slowly drifting off the upper atmosphere, countless of tiny, intricate details are hidden between the spinning storm clouds on this gigantic planet.

The picture (seen above) didn’t arrive from Juno in its current state. The color was somewhat enhanced by photography experts to bring out as much detail from the image as possible. Plenty of photographs (similar to the most recent one) can be found on NASA’s JunoCam Web Portal. 

Though the new image caught by the Juno Spacecraft takes center stage atop all others, I have an odd hunch that this is photograph is one of the many that will be captured in the following days…weeks…months.

—KFC, Author of The 11th Syzygy (6/26/18)

Say Farewell to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, Or…

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is perhaps one of the most tremendous and iconic features in our Solar System. Not to mention the fact that the planet itself is the largest in our Solar System. This massive cyclone has been swirling around Jupiter for so long we don’t know exactly when it first began to swirl. Nowadays, it’s so taken for granted—especially for those that aren’t into Astronomy and Cosmology. However, the storm on this great planet is, unfortunately, slowly dying away. And the latest data from the Juno Spacecraft, recovered from Scientists at NASA, suggests that it might actually ‘be gone within our lifetimes’. In a new research conducted and released by Scientists at NASA suggests that it’s actually changing in shape, as well as in colour—as it enters its twilight years.

Jupiter’s latest images have revealed some surprising changes to the Great Red Spot. The storm is in fact now smaller in diameter, than that of the previous set of photographs released. The swirling winds are reaching a higher altitude into the planet’s atmosphere than before; thus stretching the storm taller as it swirls upward. At the same time, its iconic crimson hue is becoming more orange, probable as a result of the highest gasses being exposed to ultra-violet radiation.

However, this doesn’t change the fact that both Jupiter and its Great Red Spot aren’t great. It can still swallow the entire Earth thoroughly. Yet the Great Red Spot is definitely less impressive that it once was when Astronomers first discovered it. And as NASA notes, a century and a half ago it, the Great Red Spot, was so wide that you could fit four (Planet) Earths inside of its footprint (clearly losing a lot of steam, in my case).

‘Its north-south colour asymmetry has decreased, and the dark core has become smaller,’ the researchers wrote. ‘Internal velocities have decreased on its east and west edges, and decreased on the north and south, resulting in decreased relative vorticity and circulation. The GRS’s colour changes from 2014 to 2017 may be explained by changes in stretching vorticity or divergence acting to balance the decrease in relative vorticity.’

The observations of Jupiter stretch as far as the sixteen-sixties—which point to the presence of an entirely diverse storm that may have followed the Great Red Spot. The storm, before the Great Red Spot, is thought to have been the remains of a dying storm that utterly vanished long before modern imaging would have allowed it to be captured on film. And if the Great Red Spot certainly does sputter out within the next few decades, another great cyclone could always form in its wake—far in the future, from which we will see it.

Astronomers Capture Very First Visiting Object from Outside of Our Solar System.

A Queen’s University Belfast scientist is currently leading an international team in studying a new visitor to our solar system—the first known comet or asteroid to visit us from another star. Stranger in a strange land in my opinion. The fast-moving object, now named A/2017 U1 for some reason, was initially spotted on the 19th of October in Hawaii. Professor Alan Fitzsimmons from the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s together with colleagues in Great Britain, the United States and Chile—has been tracking this comet using high-tech and powerful telescopes across the world.

 

Commenting on the project, the Professor said: “By Wednesday this week, it became almost certain that this object was a stranger to our solar system. We immediately began studying it that night when we discovered it with the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands; then, on Thursday night with the Very Large Telescope in Chile.”

The initial data implies it as a small, rocky or icy object that may have been drifting through our galaxy for millions or even billions of years, before entering our solar system by sudden chance. The object flew into the solar system from above. It closed in to the sun last month and is now already on its way back to the stars.

Astronomers believe it was probably thrown out of another star system during a period of planet formation. The same process is initially thought to have unfolded 4.5 Billion years ago around our own stars, when the famous planets Saturn and Jupiter formed. What’s fascinating is that scientists have never seen such an interstellar visitor until now.

 

During prompt investigations, the Professor’s team has now successfully captured clear images of this visitor and obtained data on its possible chemical makeup.

Meabh Hyland, a Ph.D. student from the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s University in Belfast stated: “It’s wonderful to see this object passing through our planetary system!”

Commenting on the incredible discovery, Professor Fitzsimmons added to his statement: “It sends a shiver down the spine to look at this object and think that it has come from another star.”

However, more statistics is needed to pin down the exact details as of where the visitor originated from and what its properties are, but luckily the traveler should be more visible through powerful telescopes for a few more weeks, allowing scientists to continue their investigations.