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Hubble Photographs Jupiter's New "Scar"

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the too-bad-cassini's-at-the-wrong-planet dept.

Space 60

BearRanger writes "Calibration of new systems in the Hubble Space Telescope (installed in May by Shuttle Atlantis astronauts) were interrupted to take pictures of the new 'scar' near the south pole of Jupiter. The scar is believed to have been caused by the impact of an asteroid or small comet with the gas giant, which we discussed last Sunday. Hubble's return to service will be delayed by this interruption, but NASA says that rare events such as this warrant the delay. This is only the second recorded impact of an object with Jupiter."

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60 comments

Still justifying its existence (1, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#28819159)

The Hubble telescope still brings home the bacon. It's a great device that continues to do its good work.

The scar looks like a belly button. Right below another scar from when they took Jupiter's appendix out.

Re:Still justifying its existence (4, Insightful)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819661)

The resolution of the full size image of Hubble is incredible.
I have always been a fan of the Hubble site and still remain today.

I was heart broken, as well as many others, a few years back when bush wanted to scrap Hubble.
I hope we learned from that near mistake and keep the thing going for years to come.

It will only continue to provide new discoveries with each passing year.
A very valuable asset to science.

Re:Still justifying its existence (1)

OnlyPostsWhilstDrunk (1605753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28824175)

hmm.. Hubble.. Uranus... Porn! Yes the hi-resolution makes sense now.

Re:Still justifying its existence (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#28827373)

I don't ever remember hearing Bush claimed to have wanted to scrap Hubble. Perhaps you could point to proof of this? Now NASA did want to scrap it because of diverting funding to other projects and the reletive safety concerns involved with a mission to repair it's orbit and a few other things. But that was NASA and not Bush.

Re:Still justifying its existence (1)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 4 years ago | (#28828413)

"But that was NASA and not Bush."
This was discussed here quite a bit back when it was going on. Perhaps I erroneously pointed my middle finger at bush holding him directly accountable for such a retarded idea. But considering bush controlled what funds NASA got, and for some stupid reason they decided to scrap one of the most important scientific devices of all time.
Even though a NASA administrator caught the bulk of flack from the community over the idea of scrapping Hubble, you know as well as I that the decision came from the "decider". And as usual, it's always some pion that has to fall on his sword to protect the #1 asshole that thought up the idea in the first place.

Re:Still justifying its existence (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#28832101)

Wow, even in admitting you were wrong, you have to find a way to "Blame Bush".

Fact of the matter is that Hubble was funded and NASA execs made the decision to use the funding in other ways. That was stopped probably by people closer to Bush more then anything. All this pointing to Bush for everything you don't agree with or don't like isn't healthy when you are basically making shit up to do so. You need to get over him and get over yourself.

Re:Still justifying its existence (1)

mac1235 (962716) | more than 4 years ago | (#28821853)

Yes, Jupiter is fulfilling it's purpose as a comet sink. Glad our Repillian overlords put it there?

Cult Watch (2, Interesting)

WED Fan (911325) | about 5 years ago | (#28819259)

After Art Bell hyped the Hale-Bopp as spaceship with Major Ed Dames, the Heaven's Gate cult [wikipedia.org] offed themselves, thinking they were going home to their reward. I bet Dames and fellow snake oil salesman, Richard C. Hoagland [wikipedia.org] are spinning this one for some sort of prophecy. Watch Hoagland tie his 19.5 Cosmic Math and Masonic rituals into it.

If you are in a cult, now is the time to turn down the bowl of apple sauce and free pairs of Nike.

Dave what are you doing..... (0, Offtopic)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819325)

ok Dave ill open the doorway dave. Please dave don't do that.

Re:Dave what are you doing..... (1)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820201)

Not the best 2001/2010 reference there, I admit, but at least one - not off topic!

The proper question would have been whether the resolution was high enough to make out whether the dark blob is make up from little obelisks that multiply.

Re:Dave what are you doing..... (3, Funny)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28821587)

My god, it's full of scars!

Hubble seems really upgraded (3, Interesting)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819345)

This is a pretty great image. I don't remember shots of jupiter looking anywhere near this good before. I really can't wait to see what the new hubble is capable of producing.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28819401)

This is nothing compared to the shots from the Galileo spacecraft. We would be getting awesome shots of this impact if NASA hadn't suicided the probe in 2003.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28819629)

Galileo was EOL'ing anyway. But perhaps the New Horizons probe could be re-oriented? Not sure if that would give any useful additional data, however.

-----

As for the new Hubble camera - awesome! Now all we need to do is build a new Hubble (sorry, Webb, but your wavelengths are a little too limited) that can be serviced robotically so it no longer has to rely on shuttle missions for fixes and upgrades. Or maybe we can just launch a whole bunch of smaller, cheaper ones, that together act as a much larger telescope once properly processed. Then the only upgrade cost is in launching another one to complement the rest.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (2, Informative)

HonIsCool (720634) | more than 4 years ago | (#28821451)

Earth is much closer to Jupiter than the New Horizon is. Distance between Earth and Jupiter is about 4 AU while New Horizon is currently some 11 AU away from Jupiter.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819857)

This is nothing compared to the shots from the Galileo spacecraft. We would be getting awesome shots of this impact if NASA hadn't suicided the probe in 2003.

We may not have been able to see anything. Probes like Galileo have thrusters to move themselves about while in orbit. These thrusters use fuel. Galileo was launched in 1989, and swung by Venus, Earth (twice) and a couple of asteroids, using fuel for course corrections for each flyby. In 1995 it had to perform various orbital insertion burns to enter Jupiter's orbit, again using fuel. Galileo then changed orbit several times to visit the various moons of Jupiter, each thrust burning off more fuel. This lasted until 2003, when the propellant tanks were dry. There was just enough fuel to ditch the craft into Jupiter (so it wouldn't accidentally crash into Europa, and contaminate possible life there).

So had it been left in orbit, with no manoeuvring fuel left with which to make course corrections or even re-orient the craft itself, it might possibly have survived the radiation and magnetic fields, the dozens of moons and moonlets, and the strong gravitational pull of Big J. But even if it survived to this day, without fuel, there is no attitude correction. It probably would have been pointing in the wrong direction.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28820007)

Watch your logic there. Had it been left in orbit, it would not be "without fuel", it would be with enough fuel to ditch the craft into Jupiter, which is presumably plenty to do one attitude correction.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28820735)

If it had been left in orbit, it would have required constant orbit and attitude corrections due to the influence of Jupiter and its moons. Otherwise it would end up in an undesirable orbit (possibly on a collision course with europa) and spinning uncontrollably along all of its 3 mayor axes, unable to receive commands from earth.
Hopefully, future probes will have ion thrusters for attitude control, which should last much longer with the same amount of fuel.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28832891)

I think you meant to reply to the parent. He's the one who said:

So had it been left in orbit, with no manoeuvring fuel left with which to make course corrections or even re-orient the craft itself, it might possibly have survived the radiation and magnetic fields, the dozens of moons and moonlets, and the strong gravitational pull of Big J.

Future probes (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#28822591)

Will likely have a LOT more fuel and much longer life. I suspect that all future probes will be using ion thrusters combined with some long life nukes. VASMIR is going to be a major change for such probes even though I am not sure that it is the ideal choice for small thrusters. As it is, we will have much larger rockets that are capable of sending probes like New Horizon, Dawn etc. on a fast trip loaded with LOTS of fuel esp. if using these thrusters.

In fact, if America was not hurting financially as bad as we are, I think that it would be useful to see us send a new set of voyagers using a ares V/Direct launcher, a great deal more nukes, and obviously a lot of fuel for a vasmir. We could get outside of the solar system in a relatively short period of time, while doing a LOT more exploration.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (3, Insightful)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819523)

The hi-res image shows a strong purple colour and a vivid blue bit on the top edge of the blackness. Is this real? Or is it a chromatic artifact from the calibration being unfinished?

Have they detailed the calibration milestones?

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (3, Informative)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819615)

looks like chromatic aberration to me. it is an optical problem and can be controlled with software, but pretty common on anything with any kind of optical magnification.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28819751)

How about time-lag between the R,G,B components? The Wide Field Camera 3 takes grayscale pictures with different filters. These are combined on Earth to create a color picture. The grayscale pictures for each R,G,B component aren't taken at the exact same time.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819953)

It is a problem with the optical components. Specifically the mirror and the lenses they are using to focus on their intended image. Compare to, say a canon powershot sx10 superzoom which exhibits the same optical qualities. Aberration is a long standing challenge in lens design.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28820533)

Mirrors don't have chromatic aberration, and if you think it's a lens design problem, why doesn't Hubble Ultra Deep Field show the problem?

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#28821703)

Mirrors do have chromatic abberation. If you don't believe me, just observe the data side of a cd under light.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#28822145)

A CD has pits and lands, essentially mirrors at different heights. The colors you see are interference or diffraction patterns. Not only that, the light is travelling through a layer of transparent plastic before hitting the pits and lands. This acts as a prism, and is probably another big source of color aberrations. Chromatic aberration does not occur in front surface mirrors.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#28822643)

Yes, thank you, except the same diffraction will indeed occur on a FSM if the reflective surface is scratched away on a similar scale to that of cd groove spacing

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#28823867)

Also, the diffraction on a cd would occur without the plastic layer. Not sure you were saying it wouldn't, or not, just playing safe

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#28824223)

You can't look at a CD as proof that a mirror has chromatic aberration. It was DESIGNED to have detectable reflective capabilities.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#28824425)

You misunderstand. It was designed to read laser pulses perpendicular to the disc. The diffraction occurs at non-perpendicular angles to the light. The diffraction has nothing to do with how the disc works; it's a side effect of the groove spacing. And if you need more proof of this effect on single surface mirrors, I suggest you look into how holograms work (the kind stickered to comic books, not the "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi" kind)

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#28829783)

Are you being deliberately obtuse? Diffraction and chromatic aberration are different beasts. Chromatic aberration occurs when a light beam takes a different path depending on its color. Light does not bounce off a mirror differently based on its color. A red laser will bounce off a mirror exactly the same way a blue laser or a green laser will. Besides, CDs and reflection holograms, although made up of thousands or millions of mirrors certainly would not be used in a telescope.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830183)

Light does not bounce off a mirror differently based on its color.

Not normally, no. But that's the diffraction I'm describing; light of certain wavelengths bouncing at unequal angles of incidence and reflection where a mirror is grated - ie, light bouncing off a mirror differently based on its color

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820535)

Could also be an artifact of whatever colour correction that they used on the image before public release. The stuff that gets released like this is never the same as the raw colour/image data that is actually used in research or study.

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820873)

The hi-res image shows a strong purple colour and a vivid blue bit on the top edge of the blackness. Is this real?

THE BLIGHT IS APPROACHING!

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (2, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820651)

I think that it's not just the image quality that's interesting. As a non-astro-anything-ist, I tend to think of space exploration as a really slow process, requiring years and years of bureaucratic approvals, budget overruns, then waiting months or years for the thing to get where it's going.

For Hubble to simply stop everything to swing a look at Jupiter so soon after something newsworthy happens there is a reminder that the Hubble Space Telescope is really.fucking.cool.

- RG>

Re:Hubble seems really upgraded (1)

g253 (855070) | more than 4 years ago | (#28822947)

Is it really Jupiter? Cos' that picture really looks like Uranus...

I've seen this before somewhere.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28819361)

We really need to watch that scar ...see if it starts to grow.

We may want to start thinking of visiting Europa while we can.

Just putting that out there.

Good for NASA (1, Offtopic)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819363)

I suspect that in almost any other gov't agency, some PHB with a clipboard would have said, "Sorry, but you're not pointing that thing anywhere until you've finished calibrating it."

Star Wars anyone? (4, Funny)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819405)

"The new camera, installed by the astronauts aboard space shuttle Atlantis in May, is not yet fully calibrated. While it is possible to obtain celestial images, the camera's full power has yet to be seen."

I don't know, but I am just imagining the same words being uttered on the Death Star, albeit in a slightly different context.

Size (3, Interesting)

gmerideth (107286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819443)

Has there been any mention of the size of that scar? I know the red spot can hold 2-3 earths but what size is that scar?

Re:Size (3, Informative)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819611)

Original reports said it was the size of the pacific ocean. I am guessing that the size is changing pretty constantly, though.

Re:Size (2, Insightful)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819965)

Now there's a reason to keep watch on asteroids, and to start coming up with ways of deflecting them, if there ever was one.

If something like that hits our planet, things are going to be very unpleasant.

Re:Size (4, Funny)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820451)

There's already a wonderful way to deflect asteroids. It's called Jupiter.

Re:Size (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820731)

And when the asteroid comes at us while Jupiter is nowhere near, how are you going to drag Jupiter into the right position for it to intercept it?

In the solar system, planets rotate around the Sun. It's not a given that Jupiter will always be in the right place at the right time to intercept something. It certainly didn't take care of the dinosaur killing one.

Jupiter is always in the right place (4, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#28822463)

Jupiter's gravity well is far bigger in influence than all the other planets combined. Jupiter contains 72% of the total mass orbiting the Sun. Small objects are influenced profoundly by Jupiter's gravity no matter where it is in its orbit.

As an example of its magnitude...Jupiter's barycenter of mass with the Sun actually lies at 1.020 Solar radii... not physically within the Sun itself.

"Wide field" is a relative term... (2, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819755)

The "wide field" (low-magnification) camera on Hubble gives a much narrower field and higher magnification than a sizable (10") amateur scope at its highest power.

Hubble really, really rocks.

Re:"Wide field" is a relative term... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820157)

Just one thing, why didn't they use a narrower field then? I mean, you know, to really zoom in on this thing.

Re:"Wide field" is a relative term... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820633)

Generally "wide field" when used to describe a telescope or a camera attached to a telescope doesn't mean "wide-field as opposed to the other, narrow-field camera." Rather, it means "hey look, we managed to make this camera/telescope provide a relatively wide field!"

Ominous... (2, Interesting)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28819809)

Okay, first there's a mysterious "scar" on Jupiter, and now the tides are inexplicably higher than normal. (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/health_science/story/1620869.html [newsobserver.com] ). I don't know about anybody else, but I'm waiting for the aliens to land.

Re:Ominous... (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820705)

Maybe the scar is the aliens.

"Hey, Flrknorpt! I bet I can buzz that big planet closer than you!"

Re:Ominous... (2, Funny)

Boronx (228853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28821061)

So Flrknorpt is still out there.

My god, its full of stars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28822209)

Something wonderful is happening.

If only Arthur C. Clarke was still around to see it!!

why is it black? (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 4 years ago | (#28822527)

excuse my ignorance, but what causes the impact area to be black?

Re:why is it black? (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 4 years ago | (#28824315)

I'm pretty ignorant about Jupiter, but if that is cloud material, could the strike be causing a heat outfluke that pushes the clouds aside? Can more knowlegeable /.ers reply?

Re:why is it black? (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#28826101)

Could be carbon dust, if the impactor was a carbonaceous asteroid. Might also be sulphur compounds blown up from the lower reaches of Jupiters atmosphere.

---

Astronomy [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Monoliths (2, Interesting)

dottyslashdottydot (1008859) | more than 4 years ago | (#28822759)

A black expanding spot on Jupiter... where have I heard that before? I guess it's happening a year earlier than Arthur C. Clarke predicted?

"only the second recorded impact" (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 4 years ago | (#28824159)

Or, put another way, "this is the second time in 15 years that amateur astronomers have discovered an object colliding with a planet - collisions which, if they had occurred here, would have sterilised if not utterly destroyed the Earth".

Cometary Swarm (1)

hackus (159037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28832713)

Possible Conjecture on my part: :-)

1) For over 100 years Jupiter has been observed with fairly good equipment and we have not see such large changes such as these impacts.

2) It is possible we are in the middle of a Comet Swarm. The frequency of these sorts of large impacts seems to be out of the ordinary, considering the last one was in 1992. (Shoemaker-Levy)

3) What is caused by this? Could it be the alignment of our Solar System with respect to the Galactic plane:
http://www.optcorp.com/edu/articleDetailEDU.aspx?aid=1114 [optcorp.com]

I bring this to the communities attention because the gravitational behaviour of the Galaxy as a whole, seems to be at odds with how we understand gravity on a large scale.

For example, when Astronomers look at the velocities of Stars on the outside of the Galactic Core, too many of them are moving at a speed or the same speed as those closer inward.

Which should not be the case.

http://www.astrophysicsspectator.com/topics/galaxies/Spiral.html [astrophysi...ctator.com]

This could suggest that we are in the middle of a comet swarm.

Which of course, would be right on schedule as we ARE over due for a major impact.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WGF-47314XP-1C0&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=ab7211f1bb44a0d677303b1cc08eb8c8 [sciencedirect.com]

-Hack

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