Newly discovered Jupiter moons get names


This 20 August 2019 video says about itself:

Exploring The Icy Moons of Jupiter. NASA’s Europa Clipper and ESA’s JUICE

Mars is the place that most of our spacecraft, landers and rovers are studying, searching for any evidence that life ever existed somewhere else in the Solar System.

But talk to planetary scientists, and they’re just as excited about the ocean worlds of the Solar System; the moons, asteroids, dwarf planets and Kuiper Belt objects where there could be vast oceans of liquid water under thick shells of ice.

The perfect environment for life to thrive.

We’ve only had tantalizing hints that these oceans are there, but NASA is building a spacecraft that will study one of these worlds in detail: the Europa Clipper. And they’re not the only ones. The European Space Agency is building their own mission, the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer.

By Lisa Grossman today:

5 of Jupiter’s newly discovered moons received names in a public contest

The monikers come from Greek and Roman mythology, keeping with tradition

Meet the new moons of Jupiter. After a public contest, five newly discovered Jovian satellites now have official astronomical names, the International Astronomical Union announced August 26.

Planetary scientist Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., reported the discovery of the moons in July 2018 (SN: 7/17/18), along with seven others. He and his colleagues spotted the moons while searching for a theoretical Planet Nine orbiting beyond Neptune (SN: 7/5/16).

The team solicited name suggestions for the moons on Twitter. There were some rules, most notably that Jupiter’s 79 known moons must all be named for descendants or consorts of the god Jupiter from Roman mythology, or Zeus in Greek myths. But that didn’t stop people from suggesting the names of beloved pets or, perhaps inevitably, Moony McMoonface.

Here are the winners:

Pandia: A daughter of Zeus and the moon goddess Selene, Pandia is the goddess of the full moon. One of the groups to enter this name in the contest was the astronomy club of the Lanivet Community Primary School in Bodmin, England, whose mascot is a panda.

Ersa: Sister of Pandia, Ersa is the goddess of dew. Several people suggested this name, including 4-year-old moon expert Walter, who got the judges’ attention with a song listing the largest moons of the solar system in size order.

Eirene: The goddess of peace, Eirene is the daughter of Zeus and Themis, a Greek Titaness who personifies divine order, justice and law.

Philophrosyne: A granddaughter of Zeus, Philophrosyne is the spirit of welcome and kindness.

Eupheme: Sister of Philophrosyne, Eupheme is the spirit of praise and good omen.

Spacecraft Juno’s close-up photos of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot


This video says about itself:

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot seen by Juno

12 July 2017

During its 10 July flyby, NASA’s Juno spacecraft took images of Jupiter‘s Great Red Spot. Measuring 16,350 kilometers (10,159 miles) in width, Jupiter‘s Great Red Spot is 1.3 times as wide as Earth. The storm has possibly existed for more than 350 years, but recently the Great Red Spot appears to be shrinking.

From Science News:

Here are Juno’s first close-ups of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

by Lisa Grossman

1:22pm, July 12, 2017

The Juno spacecraft’s first closeup views of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot are here. The spacecraft flew just 9,000 kilometers above the famous storm on July 10.

Scientists had expected the images to take until at least the night of July 13 to download because the spacecraft’s antenna was pointed away from Earth. But the first images arrived early, hitting the internet at about 11:30 a.m. EDT on July 12.

The 16,000-kilometer-wide storm appears as an angry red eye full of whorls and swirls. But there’s more to come: In addition to capturing pictures with its camera, Juno measured the spot with eight scientific instruments. Stay tuned.

Teeny-weeny star vies for title of smallest known, by Emily Conover. 7:00am, July 12, 2017.

The most distant star ever spotted is 9 billion light-years away, by Lisa Grossman, 4:51pm, July 11, 2017.

Astronomy recent news update


This January 2017 video is called Top 10 Recently Discovered Earth Like Planets.

Kepler shows small exoplanets are either super-Earths or mini-Neptunes. Tally from the prolific space telescope adds 10 more potentially habitable rocky planets to count. By Lisa Grossman, 6:39pm, June 19, 2017: here.

Life might have a shot on planets orbiting dim red stars. If exoplanets around M dwarfs host life, it’s probably very different from that on Earth. By Christopher Crockett, 10:00am, June 14, 2017.

Eclipse watchers catch part of the sun’s surface fleeing to space. Spectrometer designed to measure speed, temperature and more to be deployed during U.S. eclipse in August. By Lisa Grossman, 2:57pm, June 16, 2017.

See the latest stunning views of Jupiter. The Juno spacecraft whizzes by once every 53 days. By Emily DeMarco, 9:00am, June 16, 2017.

Astronomy news


This video from the USA says about itself:

First Science From Juno at Jupiter (NASA News Audio with Visuals)

Scientists from NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter discussed their first in-depth science results in a media teleconference on May 25, 2017, at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT, 1800 UTC), when multiple papers with early findings were published online by the journal Science and Geophysical Research Letters.

The teleconference participants were:

Diane Brown, program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington
Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio
Jack Connerney, deputy principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
Heidi Becker, Juno radiation monitoring investigation lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California
Candy Hansen, Juno co-investigator at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona

Juno launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. In its current exploration mission, Juno soars low over the planet’s cloud tops, as close as about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers). During these flybys, Juno probes beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studies its auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

For more information about the Juno mission, visit here.

Jupiter’s precocious birth happened in the solar system’s first million years. Early formation date may explain our oddball planetary lineup. By Lisa Grossman, 3:01pm, June 12, 2017.

Water circling a drain provides insight into black holes. Energy boost from rotational superradiance detected for the first time. By Emily Conover, 11:00am, June 12, 2017.

Swift kick from a supernova could knock a black hole askew. Gravitational wave detection hints at unexpected power from star explosion. By Emily Conover, 2:37pm, June 9, 2017.

Astronomy discoveries update


This video from the USA says about itself:

29 March 2017

One of Jupiter‘s asteroid companions shares the planet‘s orbit around the sun but travels in the opposite direction. Planets and asteroids in this video have been enlarged to make them visible. Read more here.

Video credit: © 2017 Western Univ., Athabasca Univ., Large Binocular Telescope Observatory

This video from the USA says about itself:

23 March 2017

The Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of a quasar named 3C 186 that is offset from the center of its galaxy. Astronomers hypothesize that this supermassive black hole was jettisoned from the center of its galaxy by the recoil from gravitational waves produced by the merging of two supermassive black holes.

Read more here.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Katrina Jackson

Music credit: “Stealth Car” by Tom Sue [GEMA] and Zac Singer [GEMA]; Ed. Berlin Production Music/Universal Publishing Production Music GmbH GEMA; Berlin Production Music; Killer Tracks Production Music

See also here.

Big storm on planet Jupiter


This video is called Junocam December 2016 : Latest Images From Jupiter Taken By Nasa Juno Spacecraft.

Another video which used to be on Youtube used to say about itself:

14 December 2016

This image, taken by the JunoCam imager on NASA‘s Juno spacecraft, highlights the seventh of eight features forming a ‘string of pearls’ on Jupiter — massive counterclockwise rotating storms that appear as white ovals in the gas giant‘s southern hemisphere. Space News.

From Sci-News.com:

Juno Sees Massive Storm on Jupiter

Jan 28, 2017 by Enrico de Lazaro

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has spotted a huge anticyclonic storm in Jupiter’s high north temperate latitudes.

As well as the famous Great Red Spot, a giant storm system three times wider than our planet, Jupiter sometimes presents one or more Little Red Spots.

Little Red Spots are often seen in the North North Temperate Zone.

They attract attention due to their color and sometimes other exceptional features.

The new image from NASA’s Juno orbiter shows NN-LRS-1, the longest-lived Little Red Spot (lower left).

Juno snapped this shot of Jupiter’s northern latitudes on Dec. 11, 2016, as the orbiter performed a close flyby of the gas giant. The spacecraft was at an altitude of 10,300 miles (16,600 km) above Jupiter’s cloud tops. The image was processed by citizen astronomers Gerald Eichstaedt and John Rogers. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstaedt / John Rogers

NN-LRS-1 is the third largest anticyclonic storm on the gas giant, which astronomers have tracked for the last 24 years.

An anticyclone is a weather phenomenon with large-scale circulation of winds around a central region of high atmospheric pressure.

They rotate clockwise in the northern hemisphere, and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.

NN-LRS-1 has been observed by several spacecraft, including NASA’s Galileo and Cassini orbiters, during its long life.

Its color has varied several times from red to dull white.

Now it shows very little color, just a pale brown smudge in the center.

The color is very similar to the surroundings, making it difficult to see as it blends in with the clouds nearby.

WE’RE TRANSFIXED BY THESE MASSIVE OVAL STORMS ON THE SURFACE OF JUPITER And scientists are still trying to figure out what it means for the makeup of Jupiter’s surface. [HuffPost]

Juno spacecraft reveals a more complex Jupiter. Stronger magnetic field, diffuse core and other surprises appear in data from first flyby: here.

Jupiter, Mars, Saturn space news


This video says about itself:

Juno Listens to Jupiter’s Auroras

2 September 2016

Thirteen hours of radio emissions from Jupiter’s intense auroras are presented here, both visually and in sound. The data was collected when the spacecraft made its first orbital pass of the gas giant on Aug 27, 2016, with all spacecraft instruments turned on. The frequency range of these signals is from 7 to 140 kilohertz. Radio astronomers call these “kilometric emissions” because their wavelengths are about a kilometer long.

The full story and more images from Juno‘s first pass of Jupiter with all instruments on is here.

From Science News:

Juno spacecraft goes into ‘safe mode’, continues to orbit Jupiter

by Christopher Crockett

6:57pm, October 19, 2016

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Juno spacecraft, in orbit around Jupiter since July 4, is lying low after entering an unexpected “safe mode” early on October 19. A misbehaving valve in the fuel system, not necessarily related to the safe mode, has also led to a delay in a planned engine burn that would have shortened the probe’s orbit.

Juno turned off its science instruments and some other nonessential components this morning at 1:47 a.m. EDT after computers detected some unexpected situation, mission head Scott Bolton reported at an October 19 news conference. The spacecraft was hurtling toward its second close approach to the planet, soaring about 5,000 kilometers from the cloud tops. It has now passed that point and is moving back away from the planet with all science instruments switched off.

The rocket firing was intended to take Juno from a 53.5-day orbit to a 14-day orbit. Juno can stay in its current orbit indefinitely without any impact on the science goals, Bolton said. The goal of the mission — to peer deep beneath Jupiter’s clouds — depends on the close approaches that it makes with every orbit, not how quickly it loops around. “We changed to a 14-day orbit primarily because we wanted the science faster,” he said. “But there’s no requirement to do that.”

For now, mission scientists are trying to figure what happened with the fuel valve and what triggered the safe mode before proceeding with further instructions to the probe.

First peek under clouds reveals Jupiter’s surprising depths. Colorful bands stretch hundreds of kilometers inward, Juno spacecraft data show. By Christopher Crockett, 9:00am, October 21, 2016: here.

Also from Science News:

Mission scientists await signal from Mars lander

ExoMars probe went silent before touchdown

by Christopher Crockett

5:16pm, October 19, 2016

From the European Space Agency:

20 October 2016

Essential data from the ExoMars Schiaparelli lander sent to its mothership Trace Gas Orbiter during the module’s descent to the Red Planet’s surface yesterday has been downlinked to Earth and is currently being analysed by experts.

Early indications from both the radio signals captured by the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), an experimental telescope array located near Pune, India, and from orbit by ESA’s Mars Express, suggested the module had successfully completed most steps of its 6-minute descent through the martian atmosphere. This included the deceleration through the atmosphere, and the parachute and heat shield deployment, for example.

But the signals recorded by both Pune and Mars Express stopped shortly before the module was expected to touchdown on the surface. Discrepancies between the two data sets are being analysed by experts at ESA’s space operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

ExoMars mission has both success and failure: here.

First signs of boron on Mars hint at past groundwater, habitability: here.

Red Planet’s interior may not churn much. Composition of 2.4-billion-year-old Martian meteorite matches that of younger ones. By Thomas Sumner
2:00pm, February 1, 2017: here.

Experts don’t agree on age of Saturn’s rings. Data from orbiting Cassini craft may help resolve debate. By Christopher Crockett, 8:53am, October 20, 2016: here.

Possibly cloudy forecast for parts of Pluto. Bright patches in New Horizons images hint at rare atmospheric formation. By Christopher Crockett, 3:05pm, October 19, 2016: here.

WE’RE STILL MOURNING PLUTO’S PLANET DEMOTION But there might just be another ninth planet out there. [NYT]