NASA will host a teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 26, to present new findings from images captured by the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa. (Details here)
Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa. Participants in the teleconference will be:
Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
William Sparks, astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
Britney Schmidt, assistant professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
Jennifer Wiseman, senior Hubble project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
To participate by phone, media must contact Dwayne Brown at 202-358-1726 or firstname.lastname@example.org and provide their media affiliation no later than noon Monday.
Audio of the teleconference will stream live on NASA’s website at:
Explanation: Our solar system’s ruling giant planet Jupiter and 3 of its 4 large Galilean moons are captured in this single Hubble snapshot from January 24. Crossing in front of Jupiter’s banded cloud tops Europa, Callisto, and Io are framed from lower left to upper right in a rare triple-moon conjunction. Distinguishable by colors alone icy Europa is almost white, Callisto’s ancient cratered surface looks dark brown, and volcanic Io appears yellowish. The transiting moons and moon shadows can be identified by sliding your cursor over the image, or following this link. Remarkably, two small, inner Jovian moons, Amalthea and Thebe, along with their shadows, can also be found in the sharp Hubble view. The Galilean moons have diameters of 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers or so, comparable in size to Earth’s moon. But odd-shaped Amalthea and Thebe are only about 260 and 100 kilometers across respectively.
Scientists believe there is an ocean hidden beneath the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. NASA-JPL astrobiologist Kevin Hand explains why scientists are so excited about the potential of this ice-covered world to answer one of humanity’s most profound questions.
If you are willing to get up extra early this week, you can catch Jupiter and Venus getting flirty and close together in the early-morning sky. This meeting of the 2 planets, also known as a conjuction, occurs in pairs with 10 months separating the conjunctions Joe Rao for Space.com tells us more:
The two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, will appear super-close together before sunrise on Monday morning (Aug. 18), and it’s just the kickoff for a week of early-bird observing by stargazers.
This entire week is an exceptional time for predawn skywatchers to see the stunning sight of Venus and Jupiter together in the sky. The best time to see the two planets about 45 minutes before sunrise, when they will be visible low on the east-northeast horizon.
And if you are willing to wait until Saturday you’ll see even more!
On Saturday, Aug. 23, the gap between Venus and Jupiter will have widened to 5 degrees (roughly the separation between the two pointer stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper). On that night a narrow crescent moon will join the two planets, making for a striking triangle configuration in the morning twilight.