ScienceCasts: Christmas Sky Show

ScienceCasts: Christmas Sky Show

[ music ] Christmas Sky Show — presented by [email protected] Just when you thought Christmas was over…. At the end of the day on Dec. 25th, a pair of holiday lights will pop out of the deepening twilight. Jupiter and the Moon are having a Christmas conjunction. It’s a global apparition, visible from all time zones and both sides of the equator. Everyone can see the show, even city dwellers who often miss astronomical events because of light pollution. Separated by less than 2 degrees, the bright pair will beam right through city lights. For anyone who gets a telescope for Christmas, the timing is perfect. Jupiter and the Moon are among the most satisfying targets for backyard optics. A quick sweep of the telescope from Jupiter to the Moon and back again will reveal Jupiter’s storms and cloud belts, the Moon’s mountains and impact craters, and of course the four Galilean satellites circling the giant planet like a miniature solar system. Jupiter’s trademark Great Red Spot will also be on display– and it is worth a look. Astronomers recently announced that the enormous swirling storm, twice as wide as the planet Earth, is ‘spinning up.’ Actually, explains planetary scientist Glenn Orton of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, ‘the Red Spot is shrinking.’ He likens it to ‘the iconic picture of a figure skater pulling her arms in to spin faster. As the size contracts, the spin rate increases.’ John Rogers, head of the British Astronomical Association’s Jupiter Section, noticed the phenomenon in recent pictures of Jupiter snapped by amateur astronomers. He was able to track a black cloud as it swirled three times around the Red Spot’s central vortex. The circulating streak completed the circuit in only 4.0 days, shorter than the 4.5 days Rogers measured in 2006 using the same method. Looking back in time, ‘the trend of decreasing rotation period has been consistent at least since Voyager visited Jupiter in 1979,’ says Rogers. As the spot shrinks, it also changes shape. Decades ago the Red Spot looked like a sausage – now it’s more circular. What happens next is hard to say. ‘Perhaps the Red Spot will continue to shrink and eventually disappear,’ speculates Rogers. ‘Or perhaps it will be rejuvenated if some new storm arises to reinforce it.’ One thing is certain, Christmas night is a good time to look. The Red Spot will be transiting Jupiter’s middle for observers across North America and will be perfectly positioned for telescopic observations. But you don’t need a telescope to enjoy the show. Step outside at sunset on Dec. 25th and look east. After all, Christmas isn’t really over until you’ve seen the holiday lights. For more news about bright lights in the night sky, visit

63 thoughts on “ScienceCasts: Christmas Sky Show

  1. I will look out for this!!!
    This is an invitation to see an artist theory on the physics of light and time!
    Based on just two postulates
    1. Is that the quantum wave particle function Ψ or probability function represents the forward passage of time itself
    2. Is that Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle ∆×∆p×≥h/4π that is formed by the w-function is the same uncertainty we have with any future event within our own ref-frame that we can interact with turning the possible into the actual!

  2. Looks like we have climate change on Jupiter as well!
    This is an invitation to see an artist theory on the physics of light and time! This is based on just one equation (E= ˠ M˳C²) ∞ the Lorentz contraction of space and time is between the energy and mass. The greater the energy the greater the contraction of space and the slower time will run forming a vortex in space formed by the rate that time flows. The brackets represent the boundary condition of the ref-frame within infinity

  3. I noticed the date of a small inset with a picture of the red spot was on the 11th September and that's the date when there was an explosion on Jupiter. Why isn't this even referenced on this video please?

  4. wasnt this how it ended. red spot getting smaller, then boom, planet xploded and formed a new sun and another a new earth. then there were 2 suns and 2 earths. run to your bunkers!

  5. Sounds interesting.especially how the galileo satelites will be seen surrounding the planet as well.sounds like a planet x cover up to me.

  6. paranormal /malachi – real end of world =
    2013-2020 dec 21 2020 armegeddon
    paranormal =what was dec 21,2012 &
    who is pacal votan -the sky god =like tooth hermes zoroaster

  7. Some advice for you people at NASA: PLEASE get a real audio engineer to EQ your audio tracks. I'm listening to your video on a pair of Genelec tri-amped studio monitors — certainly among the very best audio speakers on planet Earth (Google it) — and the audio track sounds like amateurish garbage. There's no definition in the high end. The "s" sounds are lost, and the woman's voice has extremely annoying lower mid-range resonances. It completely ruins the video.

  8. I used to run telescope parties at an observatory and banned flash photography while people were using the telescopes. It takes as long as 20 minutes for the eyes to become properly dark-adapted and one flash from a camera while you are looking at some object through a telescope will mess that up completely.
    From time to time, I received a reminder that not everyone properly understood astro-photography. Like the tourists one night who stood outside taking flash photos of the Southern Cross…

  9. this wasn't really created for our listening pleasure. It was created to tell us about an astronomical event. We really don't care about what speakers you have and whether you dislike the narrator. If this was a music video or maybe a story it might matter….until then you are just being a spoiled child. Anyway, thanks for the info. I might get the telescope out and have a look.

  10. To the critical posters here complaining about the quality of the audio under close analysis and just making general complaints in all caps – GET A LIFE. This is a well presented general interest science story which your comments (clearly intended to puff up your own egos) don't enhance in any way. I, for one, found the story informative and well done. Thanks NASA!

  11. @ Freevito. Are you really as much of a pompous ass as your post would suggest? Talk about first world problems. Sheesh.

  12. NASA, stop hiding the evidence of magical albino space angel dragons you found 2,960,000 miles away from Earth 3 years ago. A small handful already know the truth and demand you release the video footage, images and macaroni art files locked away under Mount Doom. If you refuse we will have no choice but to forget about it and do something else.

  13. @zbgtltm Yup this site is just giving out 100% free Black Apple iPad 4's for today only. But you do have to be living in the U.S though but it is all real, I claimed mine just before. Get in quick!

  14. Hi Vietnam !
    The vision of planetary Christmas event, Brazil.
    Seen by small telescope of 60 mm.
    Look at my channel.
    See you around!

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