Jupiter Gravity and Meteor Shower from Halley’s Comet

According to new study Jupiter’s powerful gravity can help supercharge a meteor shower caused by trailing chunks of the famed Halley’s comet. Every October, skywatchers are treated to a dazzling show when the Orionid meteors, leftover bits of Halley’s comet, which zips by Earth every 76 years or so, burn up in our atmosphere. The Orionids are incredibly active from time to time, and this activity is generated by a complex orbital interplay among Jupiter, the comet and the meteoroids.

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Moon Venus and Jupiter in Sunset Show

Venus and Jupiter have spent the last several weeks first approaching each other, then passing each other on March 13.Venus and Jupiter still adorn our evening sky at dusk, but they’re now going their own separate ways after their spectacular mid-March tryst. But one last event is still to occur and will be spread across two nights, o March 25 and on March 26. The moon is only about 248,000 miles (400,000 km) from our earthly vantage point, and appears to move much more rapidly against the starry backdrop night to night, as opposed to the more distant dynamic duo of Venus (67 million miles, or 108 million km) and Jupiter (535 million miles, or 861 million km).

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Asteroid Vesta

Dawn Sees Bright Spots on Giant Asteroid Vesta

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has revealed unexpected details on the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. The new photos of Vesta from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft highlight odd, shiny spots that are nearly twice as bright as other parts of the asteroid, suggesting it is original material left over from the space rock’s birth 4 billion years ago, NASA officials said on March 21. With a width of about 330 miles (530 km), asteroid Vesta is one of the largest and brightest objects in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

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Global Geologic Map of Jupiter Moon Io

Scientists have created a global geologic map of Jupiter’s moon Io, the most volcanically active object in the solar system.The map, which was published this week by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), shines a light on Io, the fourth-largest satellite in the solar system. Scientists hope the new tool will help them better understand the exotic moon. According to David Crown, of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz.

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Plausible Explanation for the Pileups of Giant Planets

Some zones encircling baby stars are far more popular than others, drawing crowds of giant planets while the other potential paths for orbits remain empty. Now computer simulations have revealed a plausible explanation of this phenomenon. Rather than occupying orbits at regular distances from a star, giant gas planets similar to Jupiter and Saturn appear to prefer to occupy certain regions in mature solar systems while staying clear of others.

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Jupiter’s New Video Reveals Invisible Jet Stream Waves

New video of Jupiter are the first to catch an invisible wave shaking up Jupiter’s jet streams, an interaction that also takes place in Earth’s atmosphere and influences the weather. The video, made from images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft when it flew by Jupiter in 2000, are part of an in-depth study conducted by a team of scientists and amateur astronomers led by Amy Simon-Miller at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md..

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Venus and Jupiter Conjunction in March 2012

Venus and Jupiter have been moving toward one another in the night sky for months now, and star gazers get a special treat this week as they line up for a planetary conjunction. The celestial action peaks Thursday (March 15), when Venus and Jupiter line up in what’s known as a planetary conjunction. Venus-Jupiter conjunctions are fairly special events, occurring roughly every 13 months. And as say experts this one should be the best conjunction for several years to come for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, because the two planets will be visible for so long in the evening sky.

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Cassini Snapped New Photo Rings of Saturn

In new photo, snapped by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on January 5, 2012, Saturn’s rings cast shadows on the huge planet. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is visible just below the rings, in the upper right of the picture. Just above the rings sits the tiny moon Prometheus, barely visible as a tiny white speck. At 3,200 miles (5,150 kilometers) in diameter, Titan is nearly 50 percent wider than Earth’s moon. The only moon in our solar system larger than Titan is Ganymede, which orbits Jupiter.

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Jupiter Moon Europa Ocean May Be Too Acidic for Life

According to researchers the ocean underneath the icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa might be too acidic to support life, due to compounds that may regularly migrate downward from its surface. Scientists believe that Europa, which is roughly the size of Earth’s moon, possesses an ocean perhaps 100 miles deep (160 kilometers). This ocean is overlain by an icy crust of unknown thickness, although some estimates are that it could be only a few miles thick.

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