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Posts Tagged "jupiter"

Life, Unbounded

To Jupiter

Farewell Earth (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

On October 9th, 2013, NASA’s Juno mission completed an Earth ‘flyby’ to gain a little extra velocity (a gravitational slingshot maneuver that steals a tiny bit of Earth’s momentum) to get it to Jupiter in 2016. Here’s the mission’s course trajectory in this first panel.   Right now the spacecraft is again moving away from [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Astrobiology Roundup

mosaic.001

                      Lots of new scientific results in the past couple of weeks feed directly into the central questions of astrobiology – from the search for life, to the environment of interplanetary and interstellar space, and the grand cosmological terrain we find ourselves in. No Methane [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Greeks, Trojans, and a Temporary Companion for Uranus

image_1348-QF99

A telescopic survey looking for trans-Neptunian objects has chanced across a 37 mile wide chunk of rock and ice that instead moves around the sun in the same orbit as Uranus, just further ahead of the planet. This discovery is notable because such objects cannot stay in place for long – unlike planets such as [...]

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Life, Unbounded

A Jupiter Carousel: Hotspots Ride The Wave

Jupiter seen by Cassini (NASA)

New analysis of data taken by the Cassini mission during its encounter with Jupiter in 2000 reveal that exceptionally clear atmospheric ‘hotspots’ effectively ride up and down in the Jovian skies as they are formed by what’s known as a Rossby wave – a phenomenon familiar to us here on Earth. The authors of the [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Europa Gives Up Some Of Its Secrets

Europa: as the human eye might see it (colors adjusted, Credit: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk)

Jupiter’s enigmatic moon Europa has long been thought to contain a huge ocean beneath its icy crust, but what is in that ocean and does it ever come to the surface? Since the Voyager and Galileo probes explored the Jovian system, its moons have presented an extraordinary and fascinating puzzle. The largest of the 67 [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Fastest Spacecraft Ever?

Who's the fastest of them all? (Credit: NASA)

Of all the spacecraft humans have launched, there have been some impressively fast movers. But which holds the record? It’s not an entirely idle question. Apart from the wow factor, it’s an interesting yardstick for gauging our capacity to explore the cosmos, from familiar planets to the icy depths of space. However, as I quickly [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Calling All Sentient Lifeforms

Galileo spacecraft images us (NASA/JPL)

You may notice that today is the one year anniversary of the Scientific American blog network. You may also notice that across the blogs this morning is a shared theme; time for the readers to speak up. Inspired by the blogger Ed Yong, the Sci Am blogs are asking for your thoughts. Consider this an [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Aurorae from Earth, Space, and on Other Worlds

Southern aurora (aurora australis) composited with NASA imagery

As we’re in the midst of experiencing some particularly stormy solar weather it seems appropriate to make a quick post with some nifty auroral images and time-lapse movies (see below). It’s also fun to point out that the phenomenon of aurorae (or auroras) is truly universal. Caused when high-velocity particles like electrons and protons expelled [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Exoplanets: I’ll Stop the World and Melt With You

What lies beneath such turbulent skies? (NASA/JPL)

Gas giant planets are among the most beautiful and awe-inspiring worlds. In our own solar system we’ve long gazed at Jupiter’s extraordinary swirling atmosphere, where stormy circulations like the Great Red Spot persist for centuries. We’ve also been captivated by Saturn’s vast ring system, on average barely sixty or so feet in thickness but over [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Jovian Attraction

Objects may feel closer than they really are...

Life, Unbounded is preparing a series of posts on exoplanets, one a day for five days – this planetary menagerie will contain some of the most fascinating, but unsung, “heroes” of exoplanetary science . In the meantime, since our closest gas giant world is once again bright in the increasingly wintery skies of the northern [...]

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Observations

Something slammed into the rings of Saturn and Jupiter

PASADENA—This week I’m here at the annual Division for Planetary Sciences meeting. Much as I enjoy Pasadena, it’s rather a comedown from last year’s meeting place in Puerto Rico. Leave aside the natural attractions: even the freeways in Puerto Rico are in better repair than California’s. Then again, we don’t come here for the earthly [...]

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Observations

Telescopes out: Earth making its closest approach to Jupiter since 1963

Jupiter as seen through an amateur telescope

Backyard astronomers, take note: Jupiter and Earth are approaching their near-yearly rendezvous, and this time the two planets will be closer together than they have been since 1963. The giant planet’s proximity should make for good viewing, weather permitting—Jupiter will appear especially bright in the sky for several nights around its closest approach on September [...]

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