The Very Spring and Root

An engineer's adventures in education (and other musings).

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The cloud bands of Jupiter stripe the planet with turbulence. Throughout its upper atmosphere, Jupiter shows signs of gravity waves and complicated wave patterns. Near the equator, the cloud bands are driven by planetary winds that reach speeds of 500 kph, whereas near the poles, the clouds show greater evidence of mottling and convection. At present, the reasons for this patterning are undetermined. (Image Credit: NASA; via APOD)

We live in a great neighborhood.


Parts of Mars Interior as Wet as Earth’s

The interior of Mars holds vast reservoirs of water, with some spots apparently as wet as Earth’s innards, scientists say.

The finding upends previous studies, which had estimated that the Red Planet’s internal water stores were scanty at best — something of a surprise, given that liquid water apparently flowed on the Martian surface long ago.

“It’s been puzzling why previous estimates for the planet’s interior have been so dry,” co-author Erik Hauri, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, said in a statement. “This new research makes sense and suggests that volcanoes may have been the primary vehicle for getting water to the surface.”

Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun’s atmosphere, magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and climate.  SDO provides images with resolution 8 times better than high-definition television and returns more than a terabyte of data each day.

On June 5 2012, SDO collected images of the rarest predictable solar event—the transit of Venus across the face of the sun.  This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years.  The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.

The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum.  The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light.  304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.