Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a swirling anticyclonic storm that was previously large enough to fit three Earths inside. However, observations taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revealed that this is changing, both in shape and size.
So why is Jupiter’s trademark feature beginning to downsize?
European Space Agency – ESA
This unusual view takes a side-on look down the smaller lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and onto the smoother terrain of the ‘neck’ region. In the background, cliffs of the comet’s large lobe rise from the shadows, adding to the dramatic feel to this image.
This single-frame NAVCAM image measures 1024 x 1024 pixels. It was captured from a distance of 9.8 km from the centre of the comet (7.8 km from the surface) at 22:04 GMT on 23 October 2014. At this distance, the image resolution is 83.5 cm/pixel and the size of the image is 855 x 855 m.
European Space Agency – ESA
To see all of the amazing photos from Philae lander visit http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2014/11
Tomorrow, Nov. 12, may mark the first time humans have soft-landed on a comet. If this is successful it will be courtesy of The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft which is currently orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it speeds through space. Rosetta will release a lander, called Philae, down to the comet’s surface tomorrow while three different space-focused organizations host Rosetta webcasts for all to watch.
In order to test whether or not a satellite could withstand the sound blast of a launcher as it takes off and flies through the atmosphere, the scientists at the European Space Agency have developed a sound system so extreme it may be able to kill a human being if they stood in front of it.
The European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory has recently discovered that the dwarf planet Ceres has direct evidence of water. Ceres, the largest object in the Asteroid Belt, was detected spouting out plumes of water vapor from two different regions. It’s suggested that this water is possibly coming from volcano-like ice geysers.
An artist’s conception of the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Image Credit: ESA/ATG medialab
With the crazy winter weather warnings today in south Louisiana and even school cancellations for tomorrow, I thought it was an interesting time to find out that the dwarf planet Ceres has an icy surface also. With the help of the Herschel space observatory, scientists have detected an icy surface on the only dwarf planet that resides in the asteroid belt. It was previously suspected that ice existed on Ceres but it had not been conclusively detected until now. Plumes of water vapor are thought to shoot up from Ceres when portions of its icy surface warm slightly. This happens in the portion of the dwarf planet’s orbit that takes it closest to the sun. This is a surprise because, while comets are known to have water jets and plumes, objects in the asteroid belt are not. They also believe that if the ice in the interior of Ceres melted, there would be more fresh water than exists on all of Earth!
Ceres is smaller than a planet but, considering it’s the largest object in the asteroid belt, is obviously larger than an asteroid. When first discovered, Ceres was thought to be a comet, then a planet and of course at some point an asteroid. In 2006, The International Astronomical Union reclassified Ceres as a dwarf planet.
Comet ISON is now officially gone, well, pretty much. The NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign has issued a memoriam for Comet ISON.
Here is the latest view:
Karl Battams: It may be (almost) gone but comet ISON leaves a legacy of unprecedented data from numerous locations within the solar system! [Image credit: ESA, NASA, Annotations by Karl Battams]
ISON appears as a white smear heading up and away from the sun. ISON was not visible during its closest approach to the sun, so many scientists thought it had disintegrated, but images like this one from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory suggest that a small nucleus may be intact
Image Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO/GSFC
“On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn’s shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings — and, in the background, our home planet, Earth.”(NASA)
Remember when we wrote about the Casini Spacecraft photographing the Earth from the other side of Saturn? Well, now all the data and pixels have been put together with a lot of hard work from the project scientists and the amazing result is here:
Go look at the amazing image from across the solar system. You will be amazed…. Zoom in and look at the planets and other objects in the background.
Mars Express will take photos of Comet ISON’s coma, the atmosphere that surrounds ISON’s nucleus. Also, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been tracking ISON and may be able to get a look as well through October 2nd.
These cameras were designed to shoot high-resolution photos of Mars but scientists are going to attempt to use them to catch a glimpse of ISON as it passes. A lot depends on how bright ISON is as it gets closer to the sun. Keep your fingers crossed….
The high-resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) is one of six science
instruments for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
This illustration shows comet ISON closely passing Mars on October 1, 2013. Credit: NASA