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Oct 30, 2020

Juno data indicates ‘sprites’ or ’elves’ frolic in Jupiter’s atmosphere

Posted by in category: space

New results from NASA’s Juno mission at Jupiter suggest that either “sprites” or “elves” could be dancing in the upper atmosphere of the solar system’s largest planet. It is the first time these bright, unpredictable and extremely brief flashes of light—formally known as transient luminous events, or TLE’s—have been observed on another world. The findings were published on Oct. 27, 2020, in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

Scientists predicted these bright, superfast flashes of light should also be present in Jupiter’s immense roiling atmosphere, but their existence remained theoretical. Then, in the summer of 2019, researchers working with data from Juno’s ultraviolet spectrograph instrument (UVS) discovered something unexpected: a bright, narrow streak of ultraviolet emission that disappeared in a flash.

“UVS was designed to characterize Jupiter’s beautiful northern and southern lights,” said Giles, a Juno scientist and the lead author of the paper. “But we discovered UVS images that not only showed Jovian aurora, but also a bright flash of UV light over in the corner where it wasn’t supposed to be. The more our team looked into it, the more we realized Juno may have detected a TLE on Jupiter.”

Oct 29, 2020

Picturing Earth: Astronaut Photography In Focus

Posted by in category: space

📸 🌍 For 20 years, humans have lived and worked in Earth orbit on the International Space Station. Astronauts photograph our home planet from space almost daily, contributing to a growing archive of over 3 million Earth observations. How these images benefit science: youtu.be/1TtdOVbWjXo # SpaceStation20th.

Oct 29, 2020

A NASA spacecraft circling Jupiter has captured the planet’s colorful electrical outbursts — ‘sprites’ and ’elves’ — for the first time

Posted by in categories: climatology, space

Jupiter’s lightning seems to produce brilliant flashes of light high above its water clouds — alien versions of Earth’s red sprites and elves.

Oct 28, 2020

NASA’s Webb Telescope To Scout Solar System’s Outer Graveyard

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NASA’s Webb space telescope to peer deep into our solar system’s outermost graveyard of planet formation; a bizarre, frozen zone of freakish objects on strange solar orbits.

Oct 28, 2020

Inside OSIRIS-Rex’s Extraordinary Mission to Tag Asteroid Bennu

Posted by in category: space

This week, NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft successfully touched and collected a sample from the surface of asteroid Bennu—without a human at the controls…

Oct 28, 2020

NASA Discovers “Very Weird” Molecule in Titan’s Atmosphere

Posted by in category: space

NASA scientists identified a molecule in Titan’s atmosphere that has never been detected in any other atmosphere. In fact, many chemists have probably barely heard of it or know how to pronounce it: cyclopropenylidene, or C3H2. Scientists say that this simple carbon-based molecule may be a precursor to more complex compounds that could form or feed possible life on Titan.

Oct 28, 2020

Massive asteroid is gaining speed on its path towards Earth

Posted by in category: space

Asteroid Apophis is gaining speed as it travels on its path towards Earth. The object is releasing radiation, which acts like a tiny thruster — and experts warn it could make impact 48 years from now.

Oct 27, 2020

NASA Discovers a Rare Metal Asteroid That’s Worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000

Posted by in category: space

Forget water on the moon, NASA has now struck gold.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a rare, heavy and immensely valuable asteroid called “16 Psyche” in the Solar System’s main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Asteroid Psyche is located at roughly 230 million miles (370 million kilometers) from Earth and measures 14 miles (226 kilometers) across, about the size of West Virginia. What makes it special is that, unlike most asteroids that are either rocky or icy, Psyche is made almost entirely of metals, just like the core of Earth, according to a study published in the Planetary Science Journal on Monday.

Oct 27, 2020

Effect predicted by Albert Einstein spotted in a double-star system

Posted by in category: space

This effect, known as gravitational redshift, is critical for maintaining GPS on Earth.


Gravitational redshift, an effect predicted by Albert Einstein that is crucial for maintaining the Global Positioning System (GPS) on Earth, has been observed in a star system in our galaxy.

Oct 27, 2020

NASA scientists spot ‘really unexpected’ molecule in atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan

Posted by in category: space

NASA is prepping its Dragonfly mission to go look for signs of life on the enticing moon.

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