Hubble Space Telescope shows off never-before-seen epic views of the solar system’s gas giants: Drastic changes are seen to the planets’ atmospheres, including new storms on Jupiter
- The Hubble Telescope released new images of the solar system’s gas giants
- They show drastic changes to the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune
- The Hubble, launched 31 years ago, will be replaced by the James Webb Telescope when it launches in December
The Hubble Space Telescope is still not fully operational, but NASA and the European Space Agency continue to release new images taken by the space telescope, including never-before-seen images of the solar system’s gas giants.
The new images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune show drastic changes to the planet’s atmospheres, which stretch from 500 million miles to 3 billion miles away from the sun.
The Hubble looks at the changing swirling atmosphere of Jupiter, along with seasonal storms on Saturn and Uranus.
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The Hubble Telescope released new images of the solar system’s gas giants. They show drastic changes to the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune
There is also a dark spot on Neptune that appears and disappears.
‘As the solar system’s weatherman, Hubble’s ultra-sharp monitoring of these magnificent giants keeps giving astronomers insights into an ever-changing kaleidoscope of weather on other worlds,’ NASA wrote in a statement.
The images were taken as part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy program (OPAL) and were snapped in September and October.
The September 4 photo shows the appearance of new storms on Jupiter, defined as cyclonic vortexes, which can change drastically in appearance
The September 4 photo shows the appearance of new storms on Jupiter, defined as cyclonic vortexes, which can change drastically in appearance.
‘Every time we get new data down, the image quality and detail in the cloud features always blow me away,’ said Amy Simon, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
‘It strikes me when I look at Jupiter, in the barges or in the red band right below, you can see cloud structures that are clearly much deeper. We’re seeing a lot of structure here and vertical depth variation.’
A September 12 picture of Saturn shows ‘rapid and extreme color changes of the bands in the planet’s northern hemisphere,’ an area where it is autumn
A September 12 picture of Saturn shows ‘rapid and extreme color changes of the bands in the planet’s northern hemisphere,’ an area where it is autumn and really highlights Hubble’s capabilities.
‘This is something we can best do with Hubble. With Hubble’s high resolution, we can narrow things down to which band is actually changing,’ said Michael Wong of the University of California, Berkeley.
‘If you were to look at this through a ground-based telescope, there’s some blurring with our atmosphere, and you’ll lose some of those color variations. Nothing from the ground will get visible-light images as sharp as Hubble’s.’
A picture of Uranus snapped on October 25 shows the planet’s northern polar hood, where it is springtime.
Experts are looking at how the polar hood changes from the methane gas in the planet’s atmosphere, noting that as the hood gets brighter, the southernmost boundary stays at the same latitude.
‘This has been constant over the past several years of OPAL observations, perhaps because a jet stream is setting up a barrier at that latitude of 43 degrees,’ NASA explained.
A September 7 image of Neptune shows that the planet’s dark spot is still visible, despite the fact it has reversed course and moving toward the equator.
Hubble, a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, has been observing the universe for over three decades.
It has taken more than 1.5 million observations of the universe, and over 18,000 scientific papers have been published based on its data.
The telescope orbits Earth at a speed of about 17,000mph (27,300kph) in low Earth orbit at about 340 miles in altitude, slightly higher than the International Space Station.
Launched in April 1990 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Hubble is showing more and more signs of ageing, despite a series of repairs and updates by spacewalking astronauts during NASA’s shuttle era
Launched in April 1990 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Hubble is showing more and more signs of ageing, despite a series of repairs and updates by spacewalking astronauts during NASA’s shuttle era.
The telescope is named after famed astronomer Edwin Hubble who was born in Missouri in 1889 and discovered that the universe is expanding, as well as the rate at which it is doing so.
The Hubble recently marked its 31st anniversary in space, doing so with an image of a giant star that is ‘on the edge of destruction’.
The U.S. space agency is going to replace the Hubble with $10 billion James Webb Telescope.
Following months of delays, the James Webb Telescope will launch into space on December 18, 2021, on board the ESA’s Ariane-5 rocket.
Last month, the telescope was successfully unpacked in French Guiana, where it will head into space, following a 5,800 mile-long journey.
NASAs Hubble Space Telescope is still working and has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990
The Hubble telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, via the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
It is named after famed astronomer Edwin Hubble who was born in Missouri in 1889.
He is arguably most famous for discovering that the universe is expanding and the rate at which is does so – now coined the Hubble constant.
The Hubble telescope is named after famed astronomer Edwin Hubble who was born in Missouri in 1889 (pictured)
Hubble has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990 and helped publish more than 15,000 scientific papers.
It orbits Earth at a speed of about 17,000mph (27,300kph) in low Earth orbit at about 340 miles in altitude.
Hubble has the pointing accuracy of .007 arc seconds, which is like being able to shine a laser beam focused on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s head on a dime roughly 200 miles (320km) away.
The Hubble telescope is named after Edwin Hubble who was responsible for coming up with the Hubble constant and is one of the greatest astronomers of all-time
Hubble’s primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across and in total is 13.3 meters (43.5 feet) long – the length of a large school bus.
Hubble’s launch and deployment in April 1990 marked the most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo’s telescope.
Thanks to five servicing missions and more than 25 years of operation, our view of the universe and our place within it has never been the same.
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