On 31 May, Clyde Foster, an amateur astronomer of Centurion, South Africa, noticed what appeared to be a bright new spot, a presumed storm, on Jupiter, just below and to the right of the Great Red Spot. Two days later, NASA’s Juno spacecraft carried out its 27th close flyby of the giant planet, capturing a sharp view of the new storm, informally dubbed “Clyde’s Spot.” According to NASA, the feature is a plume of material erupting above Jupiter’s top-most cloud layers, a convective outbreak like others occasionally seen in the South Temperate Belt. Citizen-scientist Kevin M. Gill created this image of Jupiter, the Great Red Spot and Clyde’s Spot combining five Juno images taken on 2 June when the spacecraft was between 45,000 kilometres (28,000 miles) and 95,000 kilometres (59,000 miles) above Jupiter’s cloud tops.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has observed geysers erupting on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus since 2005, but the process that drives and sustains these eruptions has remained a mystery. Now, scientists have pinpointed a mechanism by which cyclical tidal stresses exerted by Saturn can drive Enceladus’s long-lived eruptions.
Before sunrise on Thursday 19 January, observers in Western Europe can see an interesting celestial conjunction in the southern sky. At about 6am local time, the waning gibbous Moon, largest planet Jupiter and Spica — the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo — all lie in a line encompassed by the field of view of a typical 7x or 8x binocular.