Sights and Sounds from Venus, Jupiter, and Beyond

Seven Minutes at Venus

On its ever-tightening orbits across the Sun, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe swings by Venus for rerouting functions. But one doesn’t merely go by our sister planet with out taking some knowledge.

Parker’s third flyby on July 11, 2020, took it simply 833 kilometers (517 miles) above the planet’s floor. While the spacecraft was effectively above the thick environment, it went shut sufficient to go via Venus’s ionosphere, the sparse layer of charged particles surrounding the planet.

Parker’s FIELDS instrument, which measures electrical and magnetic fields, detected a low, plasma-wave-induced hum from the ionosphere throughout closest strategy that lasted seven minutes:

The knowledge verify that now that the Sun is on the minimal of its 11-year exercise cycle, Venus’s ionosphere is way thinner than it was when the Pioneer Venus Orbiter final measured it instantly, in 1992, again when the Sun’s exercise was peaking. The change is predicted, since Venus doesn’t boast a planetary magnetic subject and responds on to photo voltaic exercise, however quantifying the change will assist astronomers acquire a greater understanding of Venus’s environment and its gradual escape to house.

Read extra in NASA’s press launch and in Geophysical Research Letters.

See Jupiter in Another Light

The king of planets provides a research in contrasts in a trio of pictures that spotlight excessive climate on Jupiter. Hotspots glow brilliant at infrared wavelengths however seem brown in seen gentle, whereas the best storm that exhibits up purple at seen gentle turns into darkish at different wavelengths. Explore the photographs beneath with a watch for some key options.  

Labels added to this visible-light Hubble Space Telescope picture of Jupiter level out a number of atmospheric options on the planet, together with a “brown barge,” 4 scorching spots (which seem brilliant within the infrared picture from Gemini North), a superstorm, the Great Red Spot, and Red Spot Jr. (also called Oval BA). NASA/ESA/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/M.H. Wong and I. de Pater (UC Berkeley) et al.Jupiter’s Great Red Spot stands out for its darkness at ultraviolet wavelengths. That’s as a result of the identical molecules that give the anticyclone its distinctive purple colour take in blue and ultraviolet gentle. In the infrared picture, although, the storm’s thick, swirling clouds block radiation from the planet in order that the Great Red Spot practically disappears from the picture altogether. Red Spot Jr., also called Oval BA, follows the identical wavelength-dependent sample.

The counterrotating layers of clouds, however, stay distinguished in any respect wavelengths. However, the stripes fade close to the darkened poles within the ultraviolet picture, as haze within the stratosphere absorbs rising quantities of ultraviolet photons.

The seen and ultraviolet views have been captured by the Wide Field Camera three on the Hubble Space Telescope, whereas the infrared picture comes from the Near-Infrared Imager (NIRI) on the Gemini North telescope in Hawaiʻi. The pictures proven right here, taken on January 11, 2017, have been a part of an extended marketing campaign to trace climate patterns on the planet.

Read extra in NASA’s press launch and within the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

Voyager 1 Hears Interstellar “Hum”

Voyager 1 sailed out of the photo voltaic system in 2012 when it crossed the heliopause, the boundary that separates the magnetic bubble surrounding our Sun from interstellar house. Now within the house between stars, it’s nonetheless sending again alerts detected by its Plasma Wave Subsystem instrument. The alerts include occasional “whistles,” attributable to sudden will increase in density, a lot of them attributable to eruptions from our personal Sun. But tucked amongst the louder alerts is a faint, low-frequency hum that’s coming from the sparse materials unfold out throughout the near-vacuum of house.

Stella Koch Ocker (Cornell University) and colleagues used the sign they discovered to check the density of interstellar materials. The sign has endured from 2017 onwards, as Voyager 1 has crossed 10 instances the gap between Earth and the Sun. The workforce finds the density is altering over time (and house) in a manner that traces turbulence touring via the plasma that’s unfold out between the celebrities.

Sadly, there’s no audio translation of this sign simply but, however you may see the low-frequency hum within the determine beneath. If the skinny, persistent line extending from 2017 onward have been translated into sound, it will be practically a single tone as a result of its vary of frequency is so slim.

Weak however practically steady plasma waves – seen as a skinny purple line on this graphic – join stronger occasions in Voyager 1’s Plasma Wave Subsystem knowledge. NASA / JPL-Caltech / Stella OckerRead extra in NASA’s glorious press launch and in Nature Astronomy.


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