A scientist has created the best-ever global color map of Neptune's big moon Triton, using images taken by a NASA spacecraft 25 years ago.
Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston produced the map after restoring photos snapped by the Voyager 2 probe during its flyby of Neptune and Triton on Aug. 25, 1989. The new map has also been turned into a minute-long movie of Voyager 2's historic Triton encounter — the first and only time a spacecraft has ever visited the Neptune system.
The new map, which has a resolution of 1,970 feet (600 meters) per pixel, may help bring enigmatic Triton back into the spotlight. In an interesting twist, NASA's New Horizons probe is scheduled to cross the orbit of Neptune on Monday (Aug. 25), 25 …
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Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot -- a swirling anti-cyclonic storm larger than Earth -- has shrunk to its smallest size ever measured.
According to Amy Simon of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, recent NASA Hubble Space Telescope observations confirm the Great Red Spot now is approximately 10,250 miles across, less than half the size of some historical measurements. Astronomers have followed this downsizing since the 1930s.
Historic observations as far back as the late 1800s gauged the storm to be as large as 25,500 miles on its long axis. NASA Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 flybys of Jupiter in 1979 measured it to be 14,500 miles across. In 1995, a Hubble photo showed the long axis of the spot at an estimated 13,020 mile…Read more >
s and dwarf planets of the Solar System. Sizes are to scale. Distances from the Sun are not to scale.]] The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun. Of the many objects that orbit the Sun, most of the mass is contained within eight relatively solitary planets whose orbits are almost circular and lie within a nearly flat disc called the ecliptic plane. The four smaller inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, also called the terrestrial planets, are primarily composed of rock and metal. The four outer planets, the gas gi…Read more >
Open with music. Narrator: Voyager -- 30 years later. Is the best yet to come? I'm Jane Platt with a podcast from JPL -- NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Natural sound of greetings: That the worlds were still dynamically active, even in the cold outer reaches of space, that in fact there could be 100 times more volcanic activity than here on Earth, there can be lakes of things like methane on other worlds, you can find magnetic fields where the pole's down near the equator, you can find geysers erupting from a surface which is 40 degrees above absolute zero, and now as we're approaching interstellar space, we find that the bub…Read more >