The Great Black Spot [of Jupiter]

Jupiter's Black SpotIn yesterday’s telescopic post I neglected to mention the 19-year-old Hubble Space Telescope. Well, they’ve taken time out from calibrating the recently refurbished Hubble to look at that impact scar on Jupiter with the newly installed Wide Field Camera 3. Hubble press release here. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and H. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), and the Jupiter Impact Team. Meanwhile a Guardian editorial, “In praise of.. astronomers”, points to a wondrous exhibition at the London Science Museum – Cosmos & Culture. And, via the Professor, this from Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log

The good news is that Jupiter acts as something of a gravitational vacuum cleaner, sucking in deep-space impacts that might otherwise whack Earth. The bad news is that much more needs to be done to detect potentially harmful space rocks, and draw up a plan to protect our planet when (not if) we find one. In that sense, Jupiter’s black eye serves as a warning that we better put up our dukes.

More images from Hubble. Images Credit: NASA, ESA, and H. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), and the Jupiter Impact Team.

Jupiter's Black Spot

In close-up

Jupiter's Black Spot

And in montage.

Jupiter's Black Spot