Kim Doran emailed us on June 12 asking if anyone had seen what she witnessed the night before: a brilliant, multi-colored fireball meteor. Fireballs are meteors that flare to become brighter than the planet Venus.
We don’t know if other human observers saw the meteor’s brilliant fall but NASA’s automated cameras on the campuses of Hiram College and Oberlin College recorded the June 11 event at 10:17 PM EDT.
“(I) saw what I thought was a very large shooting star … then brighter flash and very thick trail with quick red, bright white, and some blue.” She said she is 57 years of age and has never seen anything quite like this before. “Beautiful!”
Launched from Earth in 2011, the Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter on July 4, 2016 to study the giant planet from an elliptical, polar orbit. Juno will repeatedly dive between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation, coming only 5,000 kilometers (about 3,000 miles) from the cloud tops at closest approach.
Juno’s primary goal is to improve our understanding of Jupiter’s formation and evolution. The spacecraft will spend a year investigating the planet’s origins, interior structure, deep atmosphere, and magnetosphere. Juno’s study of Jupiter will help us to understand the history of our own solar system and provide new insight into how planetary systems form and develop in our galaxy and beyond.
Juno’s principal investigator is Scott Bolton of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the mission. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver, Colo., built the spacecraft. The Italian Space Agency, Rome, contributed an infrared spectrometer instrument and a portion of the radio science experiment.
The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association will conduct its monthly club meeting beginning at 7:30 PM, Monday, June 13 at the Cleveland Metroparks’ Rocky River Nature Center. Nonmembers are welcome to attend.
The CAA will host a public star party for the Medina County Park District at 9:00 PM at Letha House Park West. See Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and more! A cloudy night alternative program will be offered should weather conditions be an issue. Members: please bring your scope to help if you can.
Road closure/detour: Due to a Medina County Highway Engineer’s road improvement construction project, Spencer Lake Road will be closed just east of Richman Road where you would normally access Letha House Park West. This section of road will be closed from June 6 through the end of July 2016. Click HERE for a detour map.