Hubble: 1 year in 4 spectacular photos

Despite the age and the increasingly frequent problems – now solved, for now Hubble is still capable of thrilling by sending to Earth amazing images from space . And what better occasion than the completion of the grand tour yearly of the outer solar system to admire the planets “up close” Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune ? An incredible journey, that of the telescope designed by NASA and ESA, traveling for more than 31 years.

The great planets made mostly of gas – hydrogen, helium, ammonia and methane, above all – have the peculiar characteristic of constantly changing physiognomy , and precisely because of their intrinsic properties. Their atmospheres change color, according to the seasons and the weather conditions, giving us always different images every time Hubble immortalizes them. So here the photo of each of the outer planets cannot be the same as the others taken previously , and it is extremely fascinating to observe the dynamism of the conditions.


A planet with a turbulent atmosphere, where storms are all ‘agenda and causing the color of its equator to be changed once again, now by a “ unusual “deep orange (usually white or beige). The red spots above the equator constantly vary over time, and are nothing more than strong cyclonic eddies. Under the big red spot you can see another, smaller one – defined Red Spot Jr. – which has darkened over time. Always storms, this time white – the color varies according to the physical properties of the clouds – are those under the small red spot. The photo of Jupiter was taken on September 4th 646.

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Autumn has begun in the northern hemisphere of the planet , and the colors change abruptly. Suffice it to observe the differences with the southern hemisphere, where winter has just ended, with a decidedly colder and bluish hue. The photo dates back to 12 September 2021.

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If on Saturn to the north autumn has begun, on Uranus we go towards spring , and we observe the phenomenon of the illumination of the polar region , which scientists are still wondering about to understand its dynamics. This could be due for example to some variation in the aerosol particles, or in the opacity of the methane. However, the greater illumination in the north does not affect the darker shade towards the south, which remains constant under the 43 degrees of latitude.

The blue of the planet is given by the absorption of red light by the atmosphere rich in methane. The photo was taken on 25 October.


Here’s the other blue planet – the color is the result of the same absorption of red light that also occurs on Uranus. You can clearly see the dark spot in the northern part (which has recently reversed the route ), as is the dark circle surrounding the south pole of the planet. The photo dates back to September 7.

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