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Latest Glenn Orton Stories

Jupiter In Turmoil From Above And Below
2012-10-18 07:46:08

[ Watch the Video: What is Jupiter? ] April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online In ancient Rome, Jupiter was the King of the gods and the god of sky and thunder with his mighty thunderbolt. He would certainly be pleased with the changes occurring on his namesake planet. Jupiter the planet is continually being peppered with small space rocks, the atmosphere is changing colors in wide belts, hotspots are vanishing and reappearing, and clouds are gathering and dissipating over...

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2010-06-12 06:30:00

On June 3rd, 2010, something hit Jupiter. A comet or asteroid descended from the black of space, struck the planet's cloudtops, and disintegrated, producing a flash of light so bright it was visible in backyard telescopes on Earth. Soon, observers around the world were training their optics on the impact site, waiting to monitor the cindery cloud of debris which always seems to accompany a strike of this kind. They're still waiting. "It's as if Jupiter just swallowed the thing whole," says...

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2010-05-20 13:15:33

Lost: A giant belt of brown clouds big enough to swallow Earth twenty times over. If found, please return to Jupiter. In a development that has transformed the appearance of the solar system's largest planet, one of Jupiter's two main cloud belts has completely disappeared. "This is a big event," says planetary scientist Glenn Orton of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. "We're monitoring the situation closely and do not yet fully understand what's going on." Known as the South Equatorial Belt (SEB),...

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2009-08-03 06:40:00

It began with a furrowed brow, a moment of puzzlement, quickly dismissed. The date was July 19, 2009. Amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley was photographing Jupiter from his backyard observatory in Murrumbateman, Australia, when something odd caught his eye. "My attention was fixed on the Great Red Spot, which was setting beautifully over Jupiter's horizon," recalls Wesley. "I almost didn't notice the dark blemish near Jupiter's south pole, and when I did, I put it out of my mind." It's just...

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2009-07-20 19:20:00

Scientists have found evidence that another object has bombarded Jupiter, exactly 15 years after the first impacts by the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. Following up on a tip by an amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley of Australia, that a new dark "scar" had suddenly appeared on Jupiter, this morning between 3 and 9 a.m. PDT (6 a.m. and noon EDT) scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, gathered...

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2007-09-18 10:30:00

PASADENA, Calif. -- An international team of astronomers has discovered that Neptune's south pole is much hotter than the rest of the planet. They have published the first temperature maps of the lowest portion of Neptune's atmosphere, which show that this warm south pole is providing an avenue for methane to escape out of the deep atmosphere. "The temperatures are so high that methane gas, which should be frozen out in the upper part of Neptune's atmosphere, the stratosphere, can leak out...

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2006-03-07 07:55:00

NASA -- Backyard astronomers, grab your telescopes. Jupiter is growing a new red spot. Christopher Go of the Philippines photographed it on February 27th using an 11-inch telescope and a CCD camera. The official name of this storm is "Oval BA," but "Red Jr." might be better. It's about half the size of the famous Great Red Spot and almost exactly the same color. Oval BA first appeared in the year 2000 when three smaller spots collided and merged. Using Hubble and other telescopes, astronomers...