Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter! A bit of reminiscing.

I recently came across a number of articles explaining that a second 'great spot' has appeared on the planet Jupiter. We know this because our Juno spacecraft has been orbiting the gas giant and has been looking at the poles for the first time.

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is an enormous cyclone that lies in the south temporal belt of Jupiter. It has been studied since the development of the telescope.  It changes over time, sometimes completely disappearing but eventually re-emerging.

The new spot, which lies at Jupiter's North pole, has been dubbed the Great Cold Spot, since its temperature is lower than surrounding clouds.

Back in 1968, I had learned programming through a cooperative venture between my high school and Carnegie-Mellon University. Programs were exciting for me and I looked for some way to apply programming to my life-long love of astronomy.

So I wrote a Fortran program to calculate when the Red Spot would cross the meridian of Jupiter, as seen from our perspective. The program would be seeded with data from Sky and Telescope magazine, and did a pretty good job.  My high school teachers were amazed, and they sent me to a weekend science education conference and I presented on my program.

This really has nothing to do with security but it is a fun memory.

Happy Easter to you all!