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Jupiter Viewing Nights
"When I heard the learned astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wandered off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Looked up in perfect silence at the stars."
~ When I Heard the Learned Astronomer, Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Learned astronomers and star gazers take note! There's more than facts and figures to be had - a new astronomical tartan is in town! This design heralds the Europa Clipper Mission, NASA's special interplanetary mission set for launch in October 2024 to study the Galilean moon Europa through a series of flybys while in orbit around Jupiter. The king of planets, Jupiter, named for the chief deity of ancient Roman religion (known as Zeus to the Greeks) has its newly discovered satellites named for the god's lovers, favourites, and descendants. Four of Jupiter's moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callistoa are collectively called the Galilean moons to honor the Italian astronomer Galileo, who discovered them in 1610. Jupiter is nearing opposition – when Earth will sweep between it and the sun so that the distance between Earth and Jupiter is less than usual and a good time to view Jupiter on your own with a small telescope or binoculars. Depending on what sort of optical aid you use, you might glimpse just one moon or see all four. This tartan colourways are intended to represent the ice and dust on the surface of Europa, the various colours of the planet Jupiter, and the depths of interplanetary space.🪐 🌜 🌕 🔭
This tartan was designed by Stephen H Watson and Houston Kiltmakers.
Scottish Register of Tartans Notes:
This tartan was designed to celebrate the development, launch, operations and science of the Europa Clipper project, to study the icy moon of Jupiter, and to honour the many hundreds of people around the world who are part of the project team. Europa Clipper’s main science goal is to determine whether there are places below the icy surface which could support life. The Europa Clipper mission is designed to understand the nature of Europa’s ice shell and the ocean beneath it, along with its composition and geology. Colours are based on imagery from Jupiter and its moon Europa. They are intended to represent the ice and dust on the surface of Europa, the various colours of the planet Jupiter, and the depths of interplanetary space.
From Nasa's website:
Europa Clipper’s main science goal is to determine whether there are places below the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa, that could support life.
The mission’s three main science objectives are to understand the nature of the ice shell and the ocean beneath it, along with the moon’s composition and geology. The mission’s detailed exploration of Europa will help scientists better understand the astrobiological potential for habitable worlds beyond our planet.
NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft will perform dozens of close flybys of Jupiter’s moon Europa, gathering detailed measurements to investigate the moon. The spacecraft, in orbit around Jupiter, will make nearly 50 flybys of Europa at closest-approach altitudes as low as 16 miles (25 kilometers) above the surface, soaring over a different location during each flyby to scan nearly the entire moon.
NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft will launch in October 2024 and will conduct a detailed survey of Jupiter's icy moon Europa to determine whether there are places below the surface that could support life. The spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter in 2030, and once in orbit around Jupiter, it will conduct nearly 50 flybys of Europa, shifting its flight path for each encounter to soar over a different location so that it eventually scans almost the entire moon.
Until then, take a trip back in time for an astronomical mystery in poetry! Here arguments whether Jupiter could be the "star" mentioned in Lord Byron's famous poem, Childe Harold's Pilgramage!