Power Play

  Jul 21, 2017 Birkeland current filaments carry electric charge through space. When matter in the plasma state moves through clouds of dust and gas, they become ionized, creating electric fields and movement of electric charge. Electricity forms magnetic fields that tend to align and constrict the charge flow. Those …

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Scientific Correctness

  Jul 18, 2017 Think of the scientific method as the methodical application of human cognitive abilities. Everyone uses cognition to some extent; scientists use it methodically. It works through the interplay of three activities: observing or experiencing or paying close attention to some particularly interesting thing or event; thinking …

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Saturn’s Polar Vortex

Jul 17, 2017 Electricity influences Saturn’s environment. The picture at the top of the page could be mistaken for recent images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. However, the swirling vortex is actually located in the center of Saturn’s vast, hexagonal north polar formation. Hexagons and other polygons can sometimes occur …

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Loki Patera

Jul 14, 2107 What causes waves in Io’s lava lakes? Jupiter’s electromagnetic field, recently measured by the Juno space probe, is twice as strong as consensus models predicted: 7.766 Gauss, compared to 0.66 Gauss at Earth’s South Pole. As previously written, Jupiter’s toroidal magnetosphere is approximately 650 million kilometers wide, extending even …

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An Electrifying Assembly

Jul 12, 2017 Jupiter’s moons exhibit electrical activity. On October 18, 1989 NASA launched the Galileo Jupiter orbiter (the pre-cursor to the current Juno mission) onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, as part of the STS-34 mission. After gravitational assistance from flybys of Venus and Earth, Galileo arrived at Jupiter on …

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Charon

  Jul 11, 2017 Pluto’s frigid companion exhibits electrical scarring. All information from New Horizons is now available, its onboard memory is completely downloaded. The spacecraft is currently on its way to the Kuiper Belt and a rendezvous with 2014 MU69, another small body more than a billion kilometers beyond Pluto. …

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Spot Free

Jul 10, 2017 Sunspot activity is unusually low. Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. — Buddha The Sun fluctuates in output strength and visible sunspots across its surface in a cycle that lasts about 22 years. During the past 11 or 12 years, …

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Anode Glow

Jul 7, 2017 Stars are electrodes. The red giant star, Betelgeuse is among the largest stars. As the image above illustrates, if it occupied the Sun’s position, it would exceed Jupiter’s mean orbital diameter. Although it is large, its substance is so diffuse that the orbits of the inner planets …

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