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Did You Know? Jupiter's Great Red Spot

This month . . . Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The most powerful storm in the solar system, so large Earth can fit inside it, still baffles astronomers today. The image above is an enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Jason Major using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Courtesy NASA. It is not known how long Jupiter has had its Great Red Spot. The Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini is credited with the first observation in 1665. The Great Red Spot is shrinking. In 1979 the Voyager spacecraft measured its width at 25,000 kilometres but it has now decreased to 15,000 kilometres. The shrinking is not continuous. It went through a

Professor Dick Hunstead, a friend of Sydney Observatory

Professor Richard (Dick) Hunstead died on Thursday 30 January 2020 at the age of 76 after a short illness. He was a widely respected astronomer, who will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues at Sydney University and at other institutions around Australia and internationally. The photograph above is courtesy The University of Sydney. He was a strong supporter of Sydney Observatory throughout his professional career. Professor Hunstead was also generous in sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for astronomy research with amateur astronomers. In June 2017 he presented his research about galaxy clusters to Sydney City Skywatcher members. Dick Hunstead was among the first batch of PhD

Solar Observations: January 2020

Sunspot activity for the month of January remained extremely low however, on the 3rd January a single Axx spot was observed of the new solar cycle 25 in Active Region 12755. Due to very consistent smoke haze from bush fires and cloud cover no observations were made until the 12th when a very faint Prominence was seen on the NW limb reaching a height of about 37,000km. From the 13th to the 24th the sola disc was clear of all Sunspot and the only significant column type Prominence was seen on the 21st reaching an approximate height of 74,000km. On the 25th January a new Dsi group or spots were seen in AR12757. This was the old cycle 24 spot No observation was made on the 26th due to cloud cove

In this month: February

20 February 1962 John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth in his Friendship 7 spacecraft circling it three times. The flight lasting 4 hours and 55 minutes and travelling a total of 121,794 kilometres reached a maximum 261 kilometres above Earth. He safely splashed down 1,290 kilometres southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. His flight occurred while the USA and Soviet Union were involved in the Cold War and competing in the Space Race. Years later in 1998 at the age of 77 he returned to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery making him the oldest person to travel into space. 17 February 1600Giordano Bruno is burnt at the stake for his heretic theories. A Dominican friar, ma

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