Sunday February 18, 2018

NASA’s Juno spacecraft detects “Monster” Cyclones on Jupiter’s Surface

Along with the fierce storms, the researchers saw a huge river of ammonia gas extending from Jupiter's deep atmosphere down to its interior

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Juno Probe has been sending images of Jupiter. Pixabay
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US, May 26, 2017: Scientists looking at the first pictures of the planet Jupiter sent by the NASA probe Juno were shocked at what they saw: monster cyclones, hundreds of kilometers wide, tearing across the planet’s north and south poles.

The scientists said the poles are nothing like the planet’s familiar placid and colorful equatorial region.

This image made available by NASA on May 25, 2017, and made from data captured by the Juno spacecraft shows Jupiter's south pole. The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) in diameter.
This image made available by NASA on May 25, 2017, and made from data captured by the Juno spacecraft shows Jupiter’s south pole. The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) in diameter. VOA

“That’s the Jupiter we’ve all known and grown to love,” Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute, an applied research and development organization in San Antonio, Texas, said in an article released Thursday in the journal Science. “And when you look from the pole, it looks totally different. … I don’t think anybody would have guessed this is Jupiter.”

Bolton called the findings “Earth-shattering. Or, should I say, Jupiter-shattering.

FILE - NASA's enhanced-color image of a mysterious dark spot on Jupiter shows a Jovian "galaxy" of swirling storms in this image captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft, Feb. 2, 2017, at an altitude of 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops.
FILE – NASA’s enhanced-color image of a mysterious dark spot on Jupiter shows a Jovian “galaxy” of swirling storms in this image captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, Feb. 2, 2017, at an altitude of 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops. VOA

Along with the fierce storms, the researchers saw a huge river of ammonia gas extending from Jupiter’s deep atmosphere down to its interior. They said they thought the ammonia might be part of what’s causing the huge storms.

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NASA had launched Juno in 2011, and it reached Jupiter’s orbit last year. The scientists said that Juno’s next fly-by would come in July, when it will take pictures of the planet’s trademark Great Red Spot — a huge, hurricane-like storm that experts say has been raging for hundreds of years. (VOA)

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Milky Way’s neighbouring galaxy is of same size, not bigger

With Andromeda no longer considered the Milky Way's big brother

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UFO religion as a concept is now becoming a part of popular understanding.
Countless galaxies exist in the universe, each hiding secrets that humankind is yet to unearth. Pixabay
  • Astronomers discover that the other galaxy nearest to us is the same size as ours
  • The name of the other galaxy is Andromeda
  • It is heavier than sun but the same size as Milky Way

In what could put a galactic arms race to rest, astronomers have discovered that our nearest big neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy, is roughly the same size as the Milky Way.

It had been thought that Andromeda was two to three times the size of the Milky Way, and that our own galaxy would ultimately be engulfed by our bigger neighbour.

Galaxy nearest to Milky Way is not larger than it. VOA
Galaxy nearest to Milky Way is not larger than it. VOA

But the new study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, evens the score between the two galaxies.

It found the weight of the Andromeda is 800 billion times heavier than the Sun, on par with the Milky Way.

The research suggests scientists previously overestimated the amount of dark matter in the Andromeda galaxy.

Also Read: Planets Beyond Milky Way Galaxy Discovered For First Time

“We had thought there was one biggest galaxy and our own Milky Way was slightly smaller but that scenario has now completely changed,” said Prajwal Kafle from the University of Western Australia.

“By examining the orbits of high speed stars, we discovered that this galaxy has far less dark matter than previously thought, and only a third of that uncovered in previous observations,” he said.

Andromeda  is heavier than sun. VOA
Andromeda is heavier than sun. VOA

The study used a new technique to measure the speed required to escape a galaxy.

“When a rocket is launched into space, it is thrown out with a speed of 11 km per second to overcome the Earth’s gravitational pull,” he said.

“Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is over a trillion times heavier than our tiny planet Earth so to escape its gravitational pull we have to launch with a speed of 550km/s,” Kafle said.

Andromeda is same size as the Milky way galaxy. Wikimedia Commons
Andromeda is same size as the Milky way galaxy. Wikimedia Commons

“We used this technique to tie down the mass of Andromeda,” he added.

The Milky Way and Andromeda are two giant spiral galaxies in our local Universe, and light takes a cosmologically tiny two million years to get between them.

With Andromeda no longer considered the Milky Way’s big brother, new simulations are needed to find out what will happen when the two galaxies eventually collide, suggests the study.