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Solar System Spectacle
Solar System Spectacle
31 Jan 2002
(Source: Spaceweather.com)

Space Weather News

Something extraordinary is happening on the planet Jupiter in full view of amateur astronomers: Two gigantic storms are interacting. One is a "white oval" -- a 70-year old hurricane nearly the size of Earth. The other is the famous Great Red Spot -- a centuries-old tempest twice as wide as our planet. Sky watchers with 6" to 10" telescopes can view the action on clear nights with good atmospheric seeing.

Meanwhile, southern-hemisphere sky watchers can follow another dynamic show: Comet LINEAR (C/2000 WM1) is flaring. Only a few days ago, the comet was barely visible to the unaided eye (6th magnitude), but now it is relatively eye-catching (3rd magnitude). Comet LINEAR passed close to the Sun in late January, an encounter that might have disrupted its icy nucleus and triggered the ongoing show.

Visit SpaceWeather.com for details and updates.

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Last Updated: 31 Jan 2002