Astronomers are using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study auroras — stunning light shows in a planet’s atmosphere — on the poles of the largest planet in the Solar System, Jupiter. This observation programme is supported by measurements made by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently on its way to Jupiter. (learn more)
Source: ESO Photo Release eso1623
In preparation for the imminent arrival of NASA’s Juno spacecraft, astronomers have used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to obtain spectacular new infrared images of Jupiter. They are part of a campaign to create high-resolution maps of the giant planet. These observations will inform the work to be undertaken by Juno over the coming months, helping astronomers to better understand the gas giant ahead of Juno’s close encounter. (learn more)
Venus and Jupiter on March 10.
Image credits: Alan Dyer @ The Amazing Sky
Venus and Jupiter will finally come together this week in a dazzling show for skywatchers. The two planets have been dancing towards each other in the evening sky, but now they will really get close.
Beginning tonight, the two brightest planets in the sky will be so close together that you'll be able to block both of them out with a few fingers held at arm's length. The celestial action peaks March 15 (Thursday), when Venus and Jupiter line up in what's known as a planetary conjunction.
Source: NASA/Galileo Mission
Data from a NASA planetary mission have provided scientists evidence of what appears to be a body of liquid water, equal in volume to the North American Great Lakes, beneath the icy surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa.
The data suggest there is significant exchange between Europa's icyshell and the ocean beneath. This information could bolster arguments that Europa's global subsurface ocean represents a potential habitat for life elsewhere in our solar system. The findings are published in the scientific journal Nature.(read more)
The Sky by Eye from Durrus Co Cork Ireland plus What's Up for August 2011 - Windy Worlds plus Juno to Jupiter
August 17th /18th 2010
Time : 23:45 UT - 00:45 UT
August 2010 I was staying in a cute house close to the village of Durrus in Co Cork. This little place is the gateway to exploring the outstanding Sheeps Head peninsula. The night sky down there was seriously beautiful to the eye; one did not need a telescope to enjoy it.
Earlier in the evening I had a look into Sagittarius before it got too low, then as the night followed on I was inspired to do a naked eye drawing of the sky above my head.
To give me the best option for a sketch I retreated to the back garden, away from the car park lights. I turned off the lights in the house; the village light pollution was minimal. Dark adaption came to me in about 25 minutes, and death would come to anybody who turned on a light.
Bliss greeted my eyes as the wonders of the summer sky opened up for me, the seeing was good.
We had brought along comfy canvas beach chairs, one of these was fine to sink into and observe. My tools for the drawing were a sheet of black paper, a clip board, a white gel pen, finely grated white pastel, blending stick ,cotton wool, and a red head light.
My working area was the star n Persei and from that visualy along the galaxy to a Cyg. I carefully added the stars in each visible constellation . Larger brighter dots according to magnitude and so on and so forth till I had a star map on my paper which mirrored the sky above my head and toward the North East. The Double Cluster and Andromeda were crystal clear naked eye objects, not usual from my home garden at all. The placement of these objects was very helpful in lining up significant stars like alpha Cyg ie Deneb in the constellation Cygnus and all the stars that made paths in the sky to each other.
A small wad of cotton wool loaded carefully with finely grated white pastel was how I added the magnificent Milky Way and all its visible star laden tendrils. When my drawing was almost finished a long trailing Perseid shot from n Persei, went flying past Cassiopeia and ended its journey just short of delta Cep . At its leading end for a nano second I noticed a sickle shaped flick of white. This meteor and its unusual flick was added into my drawing . It was a few weeks before I could look this up and discover that some Perseids produce visible bow shocks in front of themselves as they enter our atmosphere. However so far I have only come across records of Perseids bow shocks that were caught on film, so would love to know if anyone has seen one by eye while observing. firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: NASA Science News
Click to view a ScienceCast video entitled, "What Lies Inside Jupiter?"
Jupiter's swirling clouds can be seen through any department store telescope. With no more effort than it takes to bend over an eyepiece, you can witness storm systems bigger than Earth navigating ruddy belts that stretch hundreds of thousands of kilometers around Jupiter's vast equator. It's fascinating.
It's also vexing. According to many researchers, the really interesting things--from the roots of monster storms to stores of exotic matter--are located at depth. The clouds themselves hide the greatest mysteries from view.
NASA's Juno probe, scheduled to launch on August 5th, could change all that. The goal of the mission is to answer the question, What lies inside Jupiter? (read more)
NASA's Juno spacecraft completed its last significant terrestrial journey on Wednesday, with a 15-mile (25-kilometer) trip from Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Fla., to its launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The solar-powered, Jupiter-bound spacecraft was secured into place on top of its rocket at 10:42 a.m. EDT (7:42 a.m. PDT).
Juno will arrive at Jupiter in July 2016 and orbit its poles 33 times to learn more about the gas giant's interior, atmosphere and aurora. (read more)