Archive for the ‘friday the 13th’ tag
Numerous news outlets have now carried the story about the Australian amateur space enthusiast who discovered the “something” that appears to have crashed into Jupiter, leaving a spot on the surface the size of Earth.
Here, you will find many facts about Jupiter, the most interesting to me being that the planet has little or no solid surface. The planet is said to be composed mainly of helium and hydrogen. At the top of the clouds, which vary in color from brown, white, yellow and red, the temperature is somewhere around -230 degrees. In one lower layer of the atmosphere, the temperature warms to a temperate 70 degrees — It’s at this layer where life could exist, scientists think, if at all — and down to the core, which burns at a toasty 43,000 degrees, which is hotter than the sun’s surface.
If there is any possibility of life in that 70-degree zone, it had better be a tough species because Jupiter, for all its color, is a fantastically violent place. Storms, the most prominent of which is called the Great Red Spot — there’s a more recently developed one called Red Spot Jr. — resemble, from our vantage point, hurricanes of gas clouds. And like Earth’s storms, lightning is also present.
As you’ll read in the articles, the impact of the “something:”
… comes almost exactly 15 years after a comet named Shoemaker-Levy 9 struck Jupiter, ‘sending up blazing fireballs and churning the Jovian atmosphere into dark storms, one of them as large as Earth.’ — The New York Times, July 21, 2009
as reported in this article by The Times in 1994. Obviously, the planet Jupiter was named after the Roman king of the gods. The vote is out whether Jupiter’s tremendous size actually shielded the projectiles from us, but one could say, or speculate, as this Times reader does, that Jupiter has now taken more than one bullet for us:
‘If anything like that had hit the Earth it would have been curtains for us, so we can feel very happy that Jupiter is doing its vacuum-cleaner job and hoovering up all these large pieces before they come for us.’
Should we go back to worshiping Jupitor (sic)? ‘He’ seems to be very protective of us, almost, uh, Godlike? — Ben Daggett
I would add: If anything the size of Earth actually hits Earth, we wouldn’t just be closing the curtains, we would be vaporized. Heck, it would take only a comet the size of a state like Texas (and probably a much smaller one) to pretty well do us in, the likes of which will come dangerously close to us on Friday the 13th, 2029. Named Apophis, the Egyptian god of darkness and destruction, it will be the first asteroid in human history that will be visible to the naked eye. If, on that day at about 4:30 a.m. GMT, it passes through what scientists call a “key hole,” or a perfect, dead center spot, Apophis will strike Earth, no doubt about it, seven years later. Bring all the biblical symbolicism to the table and chew on that one for awhile!