Van Gogh’s Colors on Jupiter! Week #AstroMiniBR

Every Saturday, TecMundo and #AstroMiniBR bring together five relevant and fun astronomical curiosities produced by the contributors to the Twitter profile to disseminate knowledge of this science, which is the oldest of all.

Check out the main publications of the week below!

#1: The largest planet in the Solar System is worthy of a Van Gogh painting!

The photographs of Jupiter taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft are certainly in the unforgettable image gallery! Currently making its journey around this titan of the Solar System, the Juno spacecraft was launched ten years ago, in August 2011, and entered Jupiter’s orbit in 2016. Its main scientific objective is to investigate the origin and evolution of Jupiter by studying the dynamics, polar regions, gravitational and magnetic fields, and other physical properties of the planet. The spacecraft’s different approaches enabled unprecedented observations of the atmosphere, its composition and the movement of clouds on the planet, revealing fantastic features capable of making any impressionist painter envious!

#2: The thin layer of the pale blue dot…

Watching the sunrise is always a spectacle for anyone, in any corner of the Earth, but watching one from space is certainly a show in itself. The International Space Station (better known by its acronym in English, ISS) orbits the Earth 15.5 times a day at an average altitude of 400 kilometers. Astronauts aboard the ISS are constantly given privileged views of space and our planet, causing a flurry of incredible records made both by themselves and by the station’s instruments. In the photo above, the coast of northeastern Brazil is seen at night with the capitals illuminated along the Atlantic Ocean. Not enough, you can also see the effects of the first moments of sunrise in the atmosphere, our thin blue layer that protects and makes life possible. It is possible to see it illuminated even before the Sun appears on the horizon because the sun’s rays already reach the highest layers of the atmosphere, causing the light to be scattered in blue color!

#3: The biggest storm in the Solar System!

Known as the Great Red Spot, this region of Jupiter is an intense high-pressure area in its atmosphere, producing an anti-cyclonic storm that is by far the largest in the Solar System. Located just below Jupiter’s equator, this storm is so huge that the entire planet Earth would fit inside it! Furthermore, it produces very high wind speeds that can reach up to 432 km/h! It is one of the most striking features of the planet and can be seen from Earth in amateur observations using telescopes.

#4: The distant super-Earth type exoplanet.

Called Kepler-452b, this planet orbits a star named after it, at a distance of 1400 light-years from us. Although more than 4,000 planets outside the Solar System have already been detected, Kepler-452b carries characteristics that make it particularly special. Of these thousands of exoplanets discovered, it is among the 10 that have the most similar characteristics to Earth so far: mass, size, orbital period and position relative to its star. This means that the planet has, in principle, basic characteristics that would allow the existence and permanence of life on its surface, such as an ideal location in the habitable zone, which would allow the existence of liquid water, mild temperatures and components organic that would be fundamental building blocks in nature!

#5: The impact of air pollution on the most common astronomical phenomenon…

The above record shows an unfortunate effect of air pollution on the sky. Made in São José dos Campos, in the interior of the state of São Paulo, the recording of this sunset shows the dense layer of smoke that hides the Sun almost completely before it is even under the horizon, in Serra da Mantiqueira. This is not necessarily an unusual sight, especially in large cities and areas affected by fire, but it is certainly large and worrisome warnings!

#Bonus: Solar activity is back!

Okay, not that the Sun has been inactive at any point in its 4 billion+ years of age, but a very specific type of solar activity is becoming visible again! A new sunspot cycle, which lasts approximately 11 years, has begun to appear on the surface of our star. Sunspots are temporary effects in the solar photosphere, delimited by dark areas that are significantly cooler than the surrounding areas. From now on, the observation of these spots will be more frequent, in this period that is known for high activity, until it returns again to a period of few or even no spots.

Ah! And just so you don’t lose the habit of comparing sizes, many patches are several times larger than Earth!

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