Jupiter’s titanic storms have spawned their share of memorable cloud features, including the Great Red Spot, Oval BA (a.k.a. Red Jr.) and the now-defunct Baby Red Spot. Now there’s a new spot on the map, nicknamed “Mr. Hankey.”
Mr. Hankey? The jolly cartoon poo made famous in a “South Park” Christmas episode?
Believe it: The longish, brownish storm system was the star of the show during last Thursday’s close encounter involving Jupiter and NASA’s Juno orbiter. In the days since the encounter, known as Perijove 15, the probe has been sending back Junocam’s imagery for processing by a legion of professional and amateur astronomers.
It was Kevin Gill, a software engineer and self-described data wrangler at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who gave the spot its “South Park” sobriquet in a tweet. But if you want to call the scene Jet N4, that’s OK, too.
In addition to Mr. Hankey, Perijove 15 yielded some great views of the complex, blue-tinged cloud patterns in Jupiter’s mid-northern latitudes and north polar region. Here’s a Twitter smorgasbord:
— Kevin M. Gill (@kevinmgill) September 10, 2018
— Kevin M. Gill (@kevinmgill) September 9, 2018
Juno, Perijove 15 (2018-09-07), imgs. #18, #19 & #22
(NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Gustavo BC) pic.twitter.com/dim4FuHBKZ
— Gustavo BC (@_Gustavobc) September 10, 2018
— Seán Doran (@_TheSeaning) September 8, 2018
Ya hay imágenes del perijove 15; híjole, cómo se las arregla Júpiter para ser siempre tan hermoso: pic.twitter.com/PiOTZxd6lg
— Surada 🌴 (@Mizuski) September 8, 2018
Here's a little in-browser test animation giving some context for what we know about @NASAJuno Perijove 15 so far! LOTS of exposure changes & a really weird storm…thing #jupiter #space #scicomm pic.twitter.com/A2csPzqHuD
— Matt Brealey (@badgrenola) September 8, 2018
Juno’s orbit is designed to bring a camera-friendly close encounter every 53 days, so you can look forward to more treats from Perijove 16 right around Halloween. But you don’t need to go as far as Jupiter to get spooky (and potentially scary) views of storms from space.
Earth-orbiting satellites and the International Space Station’s crew members are capturing dramatic snapshots of Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Helene as they sweep westward across the Atlantic. These tweets serve as reminders of nature’s power — and the importance of getting out of harm’s way when storms threaten. Stay safe!
#Florence is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. #GOESEast captured this close-up of the storm's eye as it continues tracking toward the southeastern U.S. Latest: https://t.co/vziaU0pOhE pic.twitter.com/SvHPKYGZsC
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) September 10, 2018