Space News: Jupiter's waves, lord of the ring planets, and more!

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002

1. Jupiter's giant waves

Do you see those ripples above? Those are gigantic waves roaring across Jupiter's outer atmosphere, detected by NASA's Juno mission: NASA's Juno mission detects Jupiter wave trains

"JunoCam has counted more distinct wave trains than any other spacecraft mission since Voyager," said Glenn Orton, a Juno scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "The trains, which consist of as few as two waves and as many as several dozen, can have a distance between crests as small as about 40 miles (65 kilometers) and as large as about 760 miles (1,200 kilometers). The shadow of the wave structure in one image allowed us to estimate the height of one wave to be about 6 miles (10 kilometers) high."

2. Martian electric dust

The reason for high concentrations of perchlorates all across the Martian atmosphere is a puzzle - not least how and why they developed there. A new study suggests that frequent Martian dust-devils create strong enough electrostatic forces to drive the chemical reaction that forms them: Electricity in Martian dust storms helps to form perchlorates

And here's a picture of one at work:


3. Exoplanetary systems reveal new mysteries

Now that the search for exoplanets has developed into the observation of exoplanetary systems, new questions arise about how they might have formed - and how that applies to our own solar system.

Observations suggest CI Tau - a very young star - appears to have already formed at least four gas giants, even though it still has an extant protoplanetary disk of dust and gas: Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form

The star, CI Tau, is located about 500 light years away in a highly-productive stellar 'nursery' region of the galaxy. Its four planets differ greatly in their orbits: the closest (the hot Jupiter) is within the equivalent of the orbit of Mercury, while the farthest orbits at a distance more than three times greater than that of Neptune. The two outer planets are about the mass of Saturn, while the two inner planets are respectively around one and 10 times the mass of Jupiter.

Also keeping with planetary formations, it has been presumed that we should search for them among metal-heavy stars like our own Sun. And yet research suggests even the most basic - and common, stars also appear to have extensive arrangements of planets: Some planetary systems just aren't into heavy metal

4. The lord of the ring planets

J1407b may be a planet with a huge ring system 600 times bigger than Saturn - if earlier observations hold up. Now the search is on to prove that - but we may have to wait until 2024 for the next opportunity to see them eclipse the local star: Ring around the exoplanet?


5. Europa remains cold to life

Moving onto moons, and Europa has undergone heat-mapping by ALMA, to look for evidence of heat plumes: ALMA maps Europa's temperature

However, while they've been detected on Enceladus, no such plumes have yet been detected on Europa: Europa plume sites lack expected heat signatures

Even still, it might simply be that any volcanic vents remain very deep within Europa, and the thicker crust may make it difficult for plumes to form and escape.

6. Slow pulsar day

Pulsars are commonly known for being the crushed remnants of stars - and for spinning at insane rates. The fastest one records takes just 0.001 seconds to spin on its axis. However, one has just been recorded with a spin of 23.5 seconds - still ridiculously fast, but now the slowest known pulsar: Student discovers slowest ever pulsar star

7. Early titan of the universe

One of the biggest mysteries of cosmology is why matter in space is unevenly distributed. In theory, there should be the same amount in any direction - but in reality there are massive structures of connected galaxies, with massive empty spaces.

And new observations have found a giant proto-supercluster that appears to date at just over 2 billion years after the formation of the universe - which makes it a youngster in the making: Astronomers find a cosmic Titan in the early universe

For reference, if you want to see our local supercluster - Laniakea - the video below provides some great detail about it:

BONUS! There are various images and videos about how the size of different objects in the universe compare - here's the latest, beginning with if Earth were the size of a tennis ball...

It's always fascinating to discover new things about our universe, and honestly, to me, the further out those things are, the more fascinating they are to me. When most people speak of deep space, they usually don't even think beyond our solar system, and I suppose with good reason. But I'm hoping that someday, perhaps-just perhaps-we'll unlock FTL travel in some form or fashion, and maybe even see what other galaxies have to offer us.
Brian - I thought the matter distribution issue shad been solved by super inflation theories?

Also doesn't matter distribution depend on finite closed and infinite open topologies - if the distribution of matter is on an infinite space then any talk of homogeneity is a moot point when talking of infinite distribution statistics.

I always like these science posts.
Another good science post. Especially liked the star size comparison video.

J1407b looks a bit ridiculous.
@thaddeus6th Theres a fantastic Youtube video that talks about the depths of the Oceans and it is really awe inspiring - let along getting to stars that dwarf our sun by orders of magnitude! :)
I thought the matter distribution issue shad been solved by super inflation theories?

AFAIK, Guth's original model of Inflation can only account for so much variation - I've seen reports that the sheer scale of the voids and clusters are unexpected, and that there are now different models of Inflation to try and account for that.
Yes AFIAK hyperinflation model which proposes an exponentially inflationary epoch very early in the U and is consistent with models of LQG Bounce theory.

I've always thought the LQG Bounce theory was very nice and fitting.
Interesting set of articles. We are going to have to come up with a new set of descriptions, as words like biggest ever become less and less meaningful. Our data is so limited that any item found in a new state extends what little we know even thinner.

Our stylized writing with all the rules and meanings allow our words to go all over the map, seemingly allowing all manners and positions to exist but I feel it also restricts us to a single map when there are many more maps to choose from.

Now we have the slowest spinning pulsar found to date. Our thinking is so limited by what we can see that we keep ourselves inside the box by using those limited observations to explain everything. While we need solid observations to justify what we predict, it is apparent the rate at which we increase our resolution of observations is decreasing our understanding of how things work. There is so much in this universe and we can see so little of it that I doubt we can set up rules to explain the distribution of matter in it. The formation processes of solid objects is probably limited to how high we can count.

The complex activity of surface dust on Mars is best looked at like it was water vapor on Earth, interacting with everything in meaningful ways. Its disheartening to read that some one thought the Martian dust would automatically kill life on Mars. Is there another world under the Martian surface that has little in common with what is going on in the surface world. The easiest way to explain the under surface world is to assume it is made of solid rock where nothing but solid rock could exist.

Dust balls are a world inside themselves. A meeting place, a safe harbor. The clumps are composed of much smaller clumps intricately joined with spikes extending in all directions yet each piece separate from the others. Dry as a desert, the porous structure probably harbors all kinds of samples that can only be seen with a microscope or a lot of imagination. Add a drop of water and everything changes.

Our world has two types of continents, those above the oceans surface and those below the surface. The ground below the surface takes up two thirds of the global surface. Down there there is no sunlight yet the life is teeming with all kinds of light that uses every color that exists. The life down there in perpetual darkness talks with light. Some of the life down there is 200 million years old design wise. The lost continents really exist, we just can't imagine them being anything else but vast areas of darkness with nothing in common with our everyday lives. Some might consider them prime exploration grounds for valuable minerals, never once wondering what life down there from 200 million years ago could teach us. We need a new word for short sided.

Similar threads