A trailer for Juno, the Jupiter mission, not the movie

Thursday, 30 June, 2016

Having spent five years travelling to Jupiter, via the scenic route, NASA’s space probe Juno, will, next week, place itself in a polar orbit around the solar system’s largest planet, and spend the next eighteen months learning more about Jupiter’s formation, composition, and its gravitational and magnetic fields.

At the end of its mission, Juno will be sent into Jupiter’s atmosphere, to ensure its destruction, lest it end up crash landing on, and contaminating, Europa, a Jovian moon that some scientists think may host marine life of some sort.

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Pink great red spots at night, a Jovian’s delight

Friday, 23 May, 2014

Jupiter, image by NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)

So, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot looks to be fading. Presently it’s more like a not so great pink spot. The still prominent feature of the solar system’s largest planet is, to use technical parlance, a persistent anticyclonic storm, and one that has been raging for some three hundred years.

Fading from red to pink is an indication the storm is diminishing in intensity, something I see I noted just over five years ago, and in several decades time, who knows, Jovians may be able to look forward to a couple of centuries of more settled weather. Fingers crossed anyway.

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The songs sung by Jupiter, spooky yet very soothing

Thursday, 3 February, 2011

A recording of the ambient and oddly rhythmic sounds generated by the solar system’s largest planet Jupiter, made during the Voyager space probe fly-bys of the late 1970s… this would make for eerily great music while driving along a lonely road late at night, but also isn’t half bad to work to either.

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Jupiter, I didn’t recognise you without your stripes on

Friday, 14 May, 2010

The Solar System’s largest planet, Jupiter, has mysteriously lost one of its distinctive stripes recently (check these before and after photos), and no one seems to know why.

I wonder if the Great Red Spot (a storm that has been raging on Jupiter for several hundred years) has anything to do with it though, as they share approximately the same latitude (or did previously).

And while I’m not certain, I’d say the now departed band or stripe was probably at least the height of Earth’s diameter in size, if not bigger. It’s no small beer for a planet to lose a feature of that magnitude.

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Is a 300 year old storm on Jupiter finally abating?

Tuesday, 24 March, 2009

There’s evidence that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a storm twice the size of Earth, which has been raging for the last 300 or so years, may be diminishing.

Observations of cloud cover over the past decade or so have suggested the huge, oval tempest was getting smaller as Jupiter’s climate changes. But such observations are tricky because it’s hard to find the edges of the storm compared with nearby clouds on the visible surface of a gas planet that is entirely shrouded in colorful clouds. Nearby storms can nip off parts of the giant storm, and in turn the Great Red Spot can consume nearby clouds.

300 or more years isn’t a bad innings.

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By Jupiter, these are amazing photos

Monday, 28 July, 2008

And on the subject of outer space… an incredible collection of photos and short animations of Jupiter, and its four major moons.


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