For more than 150 years, when humans have looked at Jupiter, they’ve seen a raging vortex larger than the Earth itself swirling with layers of wind and gas.
The Great Red Spot is a high-pressure storm that has been brewing on Jupiter for hundreds of years, and a team of scientists recently discovered that not only does the storm live on, but its winds are also actually picking up speed.
The recent findings were detailed in a study published in the Geophysical Research Letters.
What’s new — After analyzing 11 years of data from the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers were shocked to discover that the speed of the wind at the outer boundaries of the storm increased by about 8 percent between the years 2009 and 2020.
The wind speeds in the storm’s outer boundary, known as the high-speed ring, exceed 640 kilometers per hour. Meanwhile, the winds from the innermost regions of the storm were moving more slowly. The winds in the two regions move counterclockwise.
“When I initially saw the results, I asked, ‘Does this make sense?’ No one has ever seen this before,” Michael Wong, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
The change in wind speed is less than 2.5 kilometers per hour during one Earth year.
“We’re talking about such a small change that if we didn’t have eleven years of Hubble data, we wouldn’t know it had happened,” Amy Simon, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and co-author of the study, said in a statement.
Here’s the background — Although the change is small, it is still significant. Despite years of observation, this 400 mile-per-hour anticyclone storm remains largely a mystery to scientists. A lot is still unknown about what fuels the storm, how it maintains its momentum, and the physics that govern it.
In 2017, observations by NASA’s Juno spacecraft found that the root of the Great Red Spot extends 50 to 100 times deeper than the deepest ocean on Earth.
The Great Red Spot has also crushed several rumors of its demise:
- In the late 1880s, the Great Red Spot measured as wide as 35,000 miles, or around four times the diameter of Earth. By the time the Voyager spacecraft made it to the planet Jupiter a century later, the storm appeared to be about twice the width of Earth. This led scientists to debate whether the Great Red Spot was shrinking in size.
- In May 2019, an amateur astronomer spotted something unusual about the Great Red Spot. A blade-like shape seemed to be flaking off from the vortex, which led some to believe that it would soon disintegrate into oblivion. But later observations showed that the Great Red Spot still had centuries more to go.
This latest bit of information about the storm’s wind speeds is another intriguing feature of the Great Red Spot.
“It’s an interesting piece of the puzzle that can help us understand what’s fueling the Great Red Spot and how it’s maintaining its energy,” Wong said.
What’s next — NASA’s Juno probe continues to study the giant planet and map its interior structure while taking stunning photos of the world as well. It can provide us perhaps the best vistas of the storm when aligned just right. Monitoring will also continue by the Hubble Space Telescope and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.
Two upcoming missions — ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) and NASA’s Europa Clipper — will orbit Jupiter while getting unprecedented views of Jupiter’s intriguing moons. It may, in the process, get more than a few good glimpses of the great red spot.
Abstract — We measured the horizontal winds in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) using data from the WFC3/UVIS instrument on board the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The data cover 11 epochs from 2009 to 2020. Long-term monotonic trends in size and shape previously noted from the visible cloud appearance are paralleled by changes in the high-speed ring around the vortex. The circularization of the GRS cannot be explained by changes in the horizontal wind shear of the surrounding environment. The velocity fields suggest no long-term trend in the static stability inside or outside the vortex. Instead, the changes are accompanied by a 4%–8% increase in the mean wind speeds of the high-speed ring from 2009 to 2020. Changes in the wind field coincided with the South Equatorial Belt Outbreak storms of 2016– 2017, but not with 2019 “flaking” events involving detachment of red material from the main oval.
Russian actor and director making first movie in space return to Earth after 12-day mission
A Russian actor and a film director making the first move film in space returned to Earth on Sunday after spending 12 days on the International Space Station (ISS).
The Soyuz MS-18 Space capsule carrying Russian ISS crew member Oleg Novitskiy, Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko landed in a remote area outside the western Kazakhstan at 07:35 a.m. (0435 GMT), the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.
The crew had dedocked from the ISS three hours earlier.
Russian State TV footage showed the reentry capsule descending under its parachute above the vast Kazakh steppe, followed by ground personnel assisting the smiling crew as they emerged from the capsule.
However, Peresild, who is best known for her role in the 2015 film “Battle for Sevastopol”, said she had been sorry to leave the ISS.
“I’m in a bit of a sad mood today,” the 37-year-old actor told Russian Channel One after the landing.
“That’s because it had seemed that 12 days was such a long period of time, but when it was all over, I didn’t want to bid farewell,” she said.
Last week 90-year-old U.S. actor William Shatner – Captain James Kirk of “Star Trek” fame – became the oldest person in space aboard a rocketship flown by billionaire Jeff Bezos’s company Blue Origin.
Peresild and Shipenko have been sent to Russian Star City, the home of Russia’s space programme on the outskirts of Moscow for their post-flight recovery which will take about a week, Roscosmos said.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
Health Canada recalls BC cannabis product due to powdery mildew contamination – Aldergrove Star – Aldergrove Star
Health Canada and Joint Venture Craft Cannabis have issued a recall notice on a B.C.-based cannabis product due to contamination from powdery mildew.
The recall affects a batch of Bud Coast–Saltspring OG Shark dried cannabis in 3.5 gram units distributed by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch. According to Health Canada’s recall notice, 1,071 units were sold between Sept. 22 and Oct. 7
“The affected product may contain powdery mildew. In certain individuals, exposure may result in allergic symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, wheezing, runny nose or nasal congestion, and watery or itchy eyes,” the notice reads.
Anyone who may have purchased the contaminated cannabis should stop using the product immediately and return the product to the retailer where they purchased it.
Exposure to mouldy cannabis products can cause temporary adverse health consequences, but neither Health Canada nor Joint Venture have received any adverse reaction reports about the recalled cannabis.
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NASA launches first space probe to study Jupiter's Trojan asteroids – Ottawa Citizen
NASA is poised to send Lucy, its first spacecraft to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, to glean new insights into the solar system’s formation 4.5 billion years ago, says the space agency
NASA launched a first-of-its kind mission on Saturday to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, two large clusters of space rocks that scientists believe are remnants of primordial material that formed the solar system’s outer planets.
The space probe, dubbed Lucy and packed inside a special cargo capsule, lifted off on schedule from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:34 a.m. EDT (0934 GMT), NASA said. It was carried aloft by an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance (UAL), a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp.
Lucy’s mission is a 12-year expedition to study a record number of asteroids. It will be the first to explore the Trojans, thousands of rocky objects orbiting the sun in two swarms – one ahead of the path of giant gas planet Jupiter and one behind it.
The largest known Trojan asteroids, named for the warriors of Greek mythology, are believed to measure as much as 225 kilometers (140 miles) in diameter.
Scientists hope Lucy’s close-up fly-by of seven Trojans will yield new clues to how the solar system’s planets came to be formed some 4.5 billion years ago and what shaped their present configuration.
Believed to be rich in carbon compounds, the asteroids may even provide new insights into the origin of organic materials and life on Earth, NASA said.
“The Trojan asteroids are leftovers from the early days of our solar system, effectively the fossils of planet formation,” principal mission investigator Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, was quoted by NASA as saying.
No other single science mission has been designed to visit as many different objects independently orbiting the sun in the history of space exploration, NASA said.
As well as the Trojans, Lucy will do a fly-by of an asteroid in the solar system’s main asteroid belt, called DonaldJohanson in honor of the lead discoverer of the fossilized human ancestor known as Lucy, from which the NASA mission takes its name. The Lucy fossil, unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974, was in turn named for the Beatles hit “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
Lucy the asteroid probe will make spaceflight history in another way. Following a route that circles back to Earth three times for gravitational assists, it will be the first spacecraft ever to return to Earth’s vicinity from the outer solar system, according to NASA.
The probe will use rocket thrusters to maneuver in space and two rounded solar arrays, each the width of a school bus, to recharge batteries that will power the instruments contained in the much smaller central body of the spacecraft.
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