The Grand Tour of the Outer Solar System by Hubble.


The Grand Tour of the Outer Solar System by Hubble.

The Titans, according to Greek mythology, were the first to dominate the world. The outer planets,,, and are the solar system’s ancient Titans. Mercury, Earth, and the other inner planets, which are huddled near to the heated Sun, are pebbles in comparison. These creatures, which range in distance from 500 million to 3 billion miles from the Sun, are as far as they are mysterious, residing so far away from the Sun that water instantaneously freezes to solid ice. All of these so-called gas giants have deep swirling atmospheres that are largely made up of primordial components. There are no solid surfaces on them.

Pioneer 10 and 11, as well as Voyager 1 and 2, were the first spacecraft to travel to the far reaches of the solar system in the 1970s and 1980s. They provided humanity with stunning close-up images of these incredibly intricate worlds. The came along in the 1990s to pick up where the interplanetary pathfinders left off. Hubble observes changes in Jupiter’s beautiful whirling atmosphere, periodic storms on Saturn and Uranus, and a roaming black spot that plays peek-a-boo on Neptune on an annual basis. Hubble’s ultra-sensitive monitoring of these majestic giants, as the solar system’s weatherman, continues to provide astronomers with insights into an ever-changing tapestry of weather on distant worlds.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has completed this year’s grand tour of the outer solar system from its vantage point well above Earth’s atmosphere, providing crisp photos that complement current and past studies from interplanetary probes. This is the region of the huge planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, which span a distance of up to 30 times that between Earth and the Sun.

Unlike Earth and Mars, which are rocky terrestrial planets that huddle near to the Sun’s warmth, these far-flung worlds are largely made up of icy gaseous soups of hydrogen, helium, ammonia, methane, and deep water encircling a dense, highly hot, compact core.

The swirling, multicolored atmospheres of these four massive planets are continually changing, despite the fact that robotic spacecraft have brought back photographs of their trips over the last 50 years. While robotic spacecraft that fly closer to the planets can take clearer photographs, Hubble repeatedly returns to these faraway worlds to disclose new surprises, providing new insights into their chaotic weather, which is driven by yet-to-be-discovered dynamic forces at work beneath the cloud tops.

Summary of Hubble’s… Brinkwire News


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