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February 13, 2017 - Jovian Northern Lights

Jovian Northern Lights  Astronomers are using the Hubble Space Telescope to study auroras—stunning light shows in a planet’s atmosphere—on Jupiter’s poles. Hubble captured the auroras during a series of far-ultraviolet-light observations taking place as NASA’s Juno spacecraft approached Jupiter in 2016. The aim of the observations is to determine how Jupiter’s auroras respond to changing conditions in the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emitted from the sun. Auroras are formed when charged particles in the space surrounding the planet are accelerated to high energies along the planet’s magnetic field. When the particles hit the atmosphere near the magnetic poles, they cause it to glow like gases in a fluorescent light fixture. Jupiter’s magnetosphere is 20,000 times stronger than Earth’s.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Nichols (University of Leicester)

Weekly Calendar

February 13-19, 2017

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 13

1852: Johan Dreyer born
1937Sigmund Jähn born, first German to fly in space

Moon phase Tuesday 14

Valentine’s Day

1972: Luna 20 launched
1980: Solar Max launched
1990: Voyager 1 takes solar system "family portrait"
2000: NEAR-Shoemaker orbits asteroid Eros

Moon phase Wednesday 15

Jupiter 3° south of Moon

1564: Galileo Galilei born
1973: Pioneer 10 becomes first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt
2013Meteor explodes over Chelyabinsk, Russia injuring 1,500 people

Moon phase Thursday 16

1948: Gerard Kuiper discovers Miranda, moon of Uranus
1965: Saturn SA-9 launched

Moon phase Friday 17

Venus at greatest illuminated extent

1959: Vanguard 2 launched
1965: Ranger 8 launched
1996: NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft launched
2007: THEMIS spacecraft launched
2009Dawn spacecraft flies by Mars

Moon phase Saturday 18

Last Qtr Moon 2:33 PM ET
Moon at apogee

1930: Pluto discovered by Clyde Tombaugh
1970: HL-10 sets lifting body speed record
1977: First captive flight of space shuttle Enterprise

Moon phase Sunday 19

1473: Nicholas Copernicus born
1986: Mir space station launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.