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The Most Detailed Images of Uranus' Atmosphere Ever 105

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the home-of-the-frost-giants dept.
New submitter monkeyhybrid writes "The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla reports on the most detailed images of Uranus ever taken. The infrared sensitivity of the ground based Keck II telescope's NIRC2 instrument enabled astronomers to see below the high level methane based atmosphere that has hampered previous observations, and with unprecedented clarity. If you ever thought Uranus was a dull blue looking sphere then look again; you could easily mistake these images for being of Jupiter!"
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The Most Detailed Images of Uranus' Atmosphere Ever

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  • by Ashenkase (2008188) on Monday October 22, 2012 @08:04PM (#41735451)
    Forthcoming... Joke...
  • by jmcbain (1233044) on Monday October 22, 2012 @08:05PM (#41735467)
    Preemptive "stop it, you immature clod."
  • Ha ha ha... (Score:4, Funny)

    by tnyquist83 (2720603) on Monday October 22, 2012 @08:06PM (#41735471)

    I can't lie, as soon as I saw the headline "Most detailed image of Uranus..." on my FB feed, I began chuckling to myself. I know, I'm a child.

    • by Brad1138 (590148)
      Now that you mention it, I "like" /. on FB but haven't seen anything from them in months... why would that be?
      • From what I hear, unless you add a "liked" page to an interest list, it won't show up in the main feed. Unless they pay to promote a post. I just happened to catch this one in that little side stalker feed that shows people's comments and likes as they happen. It's a result of FB's efforts to "clean up" the main news feed by only showing you the stuff you don't care about, but FB thinks you should see.

    • Wait, this isn't the presidential debate thread?
  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Monday October 22, 2012 @08:10PM (#41735515) Homepage Journal

    If you click any links in the comments for this article, you deserve it.

  • Holy shit.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Monday October 22, 2012 @08:17PM (#41735565)
    I love astronomy, but I literally read this on my phone whilst sitting on the toilet. I know the jokes are going to run rampant, so can we perhaps start an intelligent conversation about the utility and practicality of probing or mining the heavier elements below Uranus's hazy methane cloud? Oh wait...damn.
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Unless you can create some sort of tractor beam-like device (through gravitational or magnetic effects... maybe even sound through the atmosphere, theoretically) that probably isn't possible. In theory I suppose you could split pieces off through bullet-type projectiles, but given the thickness of the atmosphere that would probably also not be possible. You certainly couldn't use the same technology we use today, gravity and environment is far too strong for that.

      All this is, of course, well beyond our cur

      • We really need to send rovers to more planets. The gas giants should be easy, you can use aero-braking and balloons to land and explore. We can send probes to the bottom of the ocean, the pressure on a gas giant should be easy.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Are you inviting scientists to probe Uranus?

          AW CRAP I couldn't hold back...

        • by Anonymous Coward

          We really need to send rovers to more planets. The gas giants should be easy, you can use aero-braking and balloons to land and explore. We can send probes to the bottom of the ocean, the pressure on a gas giant should be easy.

          Nope. Not even close [wikipedia.org]

          The temperature and pressure inside Jupiter increase steadily toward the core. At the phase transition region where hydrogen—heated beyond its critical point—becomes metallic, it is believed the temperature is 10,000 K and the pressure is 200 GPa. The temperature at the core boundary is estimated to be 36,000 K and the interior pressure is roughly 3,000–4,500 GPa.

  • Oh come one. Now you totally ruined what could have been an interesting article.
  • ... surely they can change the name of YOOR a nus ... pick some other deity. It's not like there's a shortage.
  • Voyager (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Monday October 22, 2012 @08:36PM (#41735723) Homepage Journal

    Too bad Voyager didn't have the right IR filters when it flew by. It only found a hazy globe with slight wispyness. I was disappointed with the Uranus pics from Voyager (although its moons were more photogenic).

    I was pleasantly surprised to see Neptune had visible features for Voyager. [wikipedia.org]

    I truly expected it to be bland like Uranus, and one day I was walking past the newsstand after an intense college exam and spotted a big photo of a beautiful blue planet on the front page with wispy spots and storms. At first I thought it was a sci-fi movie ad.

    And then it suddenly hit me: Voyager! Neptune! Wow! A great de-stresser after an exam. It's a "geek moment" I'll never forget. It was so new and foreign and spooky and fscking beautiful!

    • If Obama came out in favor of oxygen, Republicans would suffocate in protest.

      Then let him. And if we can only find a way to get rid of Democrats after, then the world will be perfect. Those two parties are responsible for all the bad legislation of the last century....

      • by Tablizer (95088)

        Humans are the real cause of problems, not political parties. If you put an ape behind the wheel of the best car there is, it's still an ape driving.

        • Yeah. A lot of the complaints people have about corporations are just complaints about the difficulties of living with other people.
  • Name Change (Score:5, Informative)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Monday October 22, 2012 @09:10PM (#41736079) Homepage

    They really have to change that planet's name.

    Etymology:
    It was originally called "Georgium Sidus" after King George III, but since no one liked that name a bunch of unofficial alternatives were thought up. Uranus eventually won out and even became official in 1850. Uranus being the Latinized version of the Greek god of the sky, Ouranos. Bode argued that just as Saturn was the father of Jupiter, the new planet should be named after the father of Saturn. In 1789, Bode's Royal Academy colleague Martin Klaproth named his newly discovered element "uranium" in support of Bode's choice.

    • In order to eliminate jokes about 'Uranus', the planet's name will be changed in 2620.

      To 'Urectum'.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      They really have to change that planet's name.

      Etymology:
      It was originally called "Georgium Sidus" after King George III, but since no one liked that name a bunch of unofficial alternatives were thought up. Uranus eventually won out and even became official in 1850. Uranus being the Latinized version of the Greek god of the sky, Ouranos. Bode argued that just as Saturn was the father of Jupiter, the new planet should be named after the father of Saturn. In 1789, Bode's Royal Academy colleague Martin Klaproth named his newly discovered element "uranium" in support of Bode's choice.

      Just change the pronunciation. Instead of saying it like "your anus", change the 'a' to the short 'a' like in 'apple'. The existing pronunciation is making too many people laugh and we all know how bad that is for you.

      • by Dekker3D (989692)

        Sorry, but.. "arr anus"? Is that the best you've got? I never knew pirates shared anii.

      • by ianare (1132971)

        No change needed, the short "a" version is an accepted prononciation of the name, and in fact is closer to the original Latin.

  • there is no way that a post like this could appear on /. without fart jokes, and not much more. Just can't stop smiling.

  • Talcum powder should aid the highlighting of the rings. Let sphincter training commence!

    Sorry to have put an explicit graphical image inside your brain.
  • ...was the use of the word "atmosphere" so important as this instance.

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