Daily Archives: May 17, 2014

Hubble’s Jupiter and the Amazing Shrinking Great Red Spot 

Credit: NASA, ESA, and Amy Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center) et al.

Gas giant Jupiter is the solar system’s largest world with about 320 times the mass of planet Earth. It’s also known for a giant swirling storm system, the Great Red Spot, featured in this sharp Hubble image from April 21. Nestled between Jupiter-girdling cloud bands, the Great Red Spot itself could still easily swallow Earth, but lately it has been shrinking. The most recent Hubble observations measure the spot to be about 10,250 miles (16,500 kilometers) across. That’s the smallest ever measured by Hubble and particularly dramatic when compared to 14,500 miles measured by the Voyager 1 and 2 flybys in 1979, and historic telescopic observations from the 1800s indicating a width of about 25,500 miles on its long axis. Current indications are that the rate of shrinking is increasing for the long-lived Great Red Spot.

NASA APOD 17-May-14

Soul Nebula in Cassiopeia

c461bee8acb1ee756e3d5d78cb5ba068.1824x0_q100_watermark_watermark_opacity-10_watermark_position-6_watermark_text-© Peter Folkesson

Soul Nebula  is emission nebulae in Cassiopeia. Several small open clusters are embedded in the nebula: CR 34, 632, and 634 (in the head) and IC1848 (in the body). The object is more commonly called by the cluster designation IC1848. Small emission nebula IC 1871 is present just left of the top of the head, and small emission nebulae 670 and 669 are just below the lower back area.
W5, a radio source within the nebula, spans an area of sky equivalent to four full moons and is about 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. Like other massive star-forming regions, such as Orion and Carina, W5 contains large cavities that were carved out by radiation and winds from the region’s most massive stars. According to the theory of triggered star formation, the carving out of these cavities pushes gas together, causing it to ignite into successive generations of new stars. The image in the gallery above contains some of the best evidence yet for the triggered star formation theory. Scientists analyzing the photo have been able to show that the ages of the stars become progressively and systematically younger with distance from the center of the cavities.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Skywatcher Esprit 80ED
Imaging cameras: Canon EOS 600Da
Mounts: Sky-Watcher HEQ5 PRO
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Celestron 80mm Guidescope
Guiding cameras: Sky-Watcher Synguider
Software: PixInsight, Adobe Photoshop, BinaryRivers BackyardEOS
Filters: IDAS LPS-P2
Dates: March 3, 2014
Frames: 8×480″ ISO800
Integration: 1.1 hours
Darks: ~28
Flats: ~40
Bias: ~200

Author: Peter Folkesson

AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI
17 May 2014