One of the most famous features in our solar system is entering its final years.
The Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is shrinking. The massive storm, that was once large enough to swallow three earths, is winding down, according to NASA. At its largest, that humanity has documented, it was big enough to swallow four Earths. At its current size, it can fit only one.
We don’t fully understand the Red Spot, despite observing it for more than 180 years. Lots of theories abound as to what caused it, why it has lasted so long and when it began. It’s figured that it’s at least 350 years old, as that was the earliest sightings of a spot on the planet. Robert Hooke, best known as Isaac Newton’s much hated rival, is credited with the earliest sighting back in 1664. Giovanni Cassini, whose name was carried by the famous satellite/probe that circled Saturn, also described something like it in 1665.
But whatever its past, anyone that’s had third grad science knows the Great Red Spot now. Like the rings of Saturn, it’s what made Jupiter stand out aside from its massive size. Without it, Jupiter simply becomes the “biggest planet.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
It’s still a cause for sadness though. Something that has connected generations of astronomers and science students will be gone. All that we’ll have are notes and photos of the once great storm that could eat several earths whole.
Speaking of storms
Another massive storm, not nearly as large or old as the Great Red Spot, is also in its last days.
This storm is on Neptune and quite different than the one on Jupiter. Unlike Jupiter, the storm on Neptune is one that last maybe a few years at the most. It is also heading deeper into the planet’s southern hemisphere as it runs out of energy, unlike Jupiter’s which hangs out around the equator.
The observations of the Neptune storm are thanks to Hubble, which will be replaced very soon.
When it comes to science, the work of amateurs can have a great impact. That’s the case with a supernova found in another galaxy.
The Argentine scientist, Victor Buso, just happened to be taking photos with his 16-inch telescope and when he looked back on them, there was something that had not been there prior.
Dubbed SN 2016gkg, the supernova is in a spiral galaxy named NGC 613, which is approximately 80 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor.
Sleeping in space
Yeah, weightlessness might provide one of the most comfortable ways to sleep. I mean, you don’t have to worry about waking up with a crick in your neck nor do you have to toss and turn because one side gets sore.
But, space does cause some problems, one of those is that astronauts get taller because their spines are stretched. This can cause problems, such as slipped discs, when they come back to earth and normal gravity again.
Researchers at King’s College London in the United Kingdom have been testing a Skinsuit to relieve the issue. Inspired by the dead sea they are using a simulation of microgravity.
Earth’s problems in space
Something I did not know is that Chinese astronauts are not welcome on the International Space Station.
This is kind of sad to hear. Much of this is due to the conflicts with the U.S. in regards to technological espionage and accusations of the China’s military being in charge of its space program.
Hopefully, things will work out. Space exploration works best with everyone working together after all.