Shuttle, Hubble Focus On Jupiter

Ultraviolet telescopes aboard the space shuttle Endeavour teamed up Thursday with the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope for an in-depth study of Jupiter.

The dual observation came near the midpoint of a stargazing shuttle mission that began March 2 and isn’t set to end until March 17.

Scientists want to learn how Jupiter’s atmosphere is affected by erupting volcanoes on its moon Io. That can be studied by focusing on the planet’s aurora, a glow similar to Earth’s Northern and Southern Lights.

One of Hubble’s cameras took pictures of the planet in ultraviolet light, while instruments attached to one of Endeavour’s telescopes provided data on the spectrum of the ultraviolet light from Jupiter. By combining the two, the researchers hope to determine exactly where the aurora is and the nature of the particles activating it.

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