02 February 2010


Today is not-so-trivial trivia day.

Item 1. The planet Jupiter, a gas giant planet whose diameter could contain eleven Earths lined up in a row with room left over, and whose volume could contain well over 13,000 Earths, has perhaps the most complex and visually arresting atmosphere in the solar system. Jupiter's banded layers of clouds and storm are so intricate that they appear fractal in structure. Above is an image of Jupiter taken from a position over the south pole by the Cassini spacecraft, and below is an image of Cassini itself.

The sheer scale of Jupiter boggles the mind. Just it's most prominent feature, the Great Red Spot (an anticyclonic storm south of Jupiter's equator which has lasted for at least 180 years, and possibly double that), could contain two or three planets the size of Earth. Below is a composite image for size comparison.

Item 2. Speaking of fractals. here are several images of a Menger sponge, a type of fractal curve. Click on the link for more details, and (as always) click on any image for greater magnification.

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