1 00:00:02,320 --> 00:00:06,000 To observe with Hubble, we actually  have to plan out pretty far in advance.   2 00:00:06,000 --> 00:00:10,480 And for the outer planets, what we do is we  pick the time when they're at opposition,   3 00:00:10,480 --> 00:00:14,240 and that means that it's opposite from  the sun, from the earth's point of view,   4 00:00:14,240 --> 00:00:17,280 and that basically gives us the  highest resolution view. That's when   5 00:00:17,280 --> 00:00:21,440 Hubble is the closest to each planet, even  though that doesn't vary much over a year.   6 00:00:21,440 --> 00:00:26,400 And the planets are a little bit more challenging  because they move, and so Hubble has to find guide   7 00:00:26,400 --> 00:00:31,280 stars first, that tell it where it's pointing in  the sky. But then it has to track those planets,   8 00:00:31,280 --> 00:00:35,760 so it has to move following the planet across  the sky. And so that has to be interleaved with   9 00:00:35,760 --> 00:00:40,400 all the other science program Hubble's doing every  single day, and so it's very carefully coordinated   10 00:00:40,400 --> 00:00:44,480 to fit in, as Hubble then orbits around the  Earth. And so it gets planned out down to   11 00:00:44,480 --> 00:00:50,160 the minutes of exactly which image we're going to  take, in which filter, for each of those planets. 12 00:00:52,880 --> 00:00:56,320 So it's a cosmic dance of getting  Hubble pointed in the right place,   13 00:00:56,320 --> 00:00:59,120 moving in the right direction,  and tracking all at the same time. 14 00:01:03,600 --> 00:01:09,360 The OPAL project, or the Outer Planet's  Atmosphere's Legacy program, is an observational   15 00:01:09,360 --> 00:01:14,320 program using the Hubble Space Telescope. And what  we're doing is, we're looking at each of the outer   16 00:01:14,320 --> 00:01:19,360 planets every year, so that we can build up a  time base, using the exact same facility and the   17 00:01:19,360 --> 00:01:25,840 same instruments, so we can actually track what's  changing over the years on each of those planets. 18 00:01:30,880 --> 00:01:36,960 It started, really, with Jupiter. In essence, we  were trying to look at the weather on Jupiter.   19 00:01:37,760 --> 00:01:41,840 And as we're trying to understand weather, we  know, even here on Earth, it changes every minute,   20 00:01:41,840 --> 00:01:45,600 every hour, every day. And we didn't  have that kind of time coverage.   21 00:01:45,600 --> 00:01:50,160 But we also didn't even have longtime coverage  to look at things that changed over seasons. And   22 00:01:50,160 --> 00:01:54,160 so we had this big gap in our knowledge, where  we just weren't getting frequent enough data   23 00:01:54,160 --> 00:01:59,840 to be able to trend any of these things. And  the idea kind of came about to look at a legacy   24 00:01:59,840 --> 00:02:05,920 program, where we built up a legacy for Hubble  within the planetary community. And in 2014,   25 00:02:05,920 --> 00:02:11,600 we started with our first observations of Uranus.  And the first thing I think we noticed was Uranus   26 00:02:11,600 --> 00:02:16,800 had a very prominent polar cap. It was very  much brighter, and getting brighter over time.   27 00:02:16,800 --> 00:02:21,120 We've watched it over the last few years get  much brighter. Neptune, on the other hand,   28 00:02:21,120 --> 00:02:24,960 has been really quite interesting. The first  thing we noted was it had a lot of bright   29 00:02:24,960 --> 00:02:29,200 white clouds and they were coming and going  pretty rapidly at a lot of different latitudes. 30 00:02:32,000 --> 00:02:35,120 And so, when we start looking  at Neptune and Uranus,   31 00:02:35,120 --> 00:02:39,440 as dynamic planets with changing atmosphere,  weather -- like we know now for Jupiter   32 00:02:39,440 --> 00:02:42,960 and Saturn -- we realize that we have  a lot of gaps in our understanding. 33 00:02:46,800 --> 00:02:51,440 And so, we've been able to use the OPAL program  to track how much cloud cover we have from   34 00:02:51,440 --> 00:02:55,520 year-to-year. But the other thing we can do with  Hubble, that we can't really do any other way,   35 00:02:55,520 --> 00:03:01,840 is look for dark spots. And so the Great Dark Spot  was this big iconic feature we saw with Voyager.   36 00:03:01,840 --> 00:03:05,600 And when we looked again a few years later,  finally, when Hubble was online, it was gone.   37 00:03:07,040 --> 00:03:11,760 And that kind of surprised us, because we were  used to the Great Red Spot, which doesn't go away.   38 00:03:11,760 --> 00:03:17,760 It's changed over time, but it's still there.  And so, these storms are not quite the same   39 00:03:17,760 --> 00:03:21,920 as what we see on Jupiter, because they form  and go away on much more rapid time scales.   40 00:03:23,760 --> 00:03:28,400 The latest image of Neptune is really interesting  to me, because we don't see those bright white   41 00:03:28,400 --> 00:03:32,480 clouds we've been seeing the last few years. As  a matter of fact, the only thing we see in that   42 00:03:32,480 --> 00:03:37,760 particular image is this Great Dark Spot. And so,  in a lot of ways, it brings us around full circle,   43 00:03:37,760 --> 00:03:43,520 because this looks so much like the Voyager image  from 1989. And that was pretty surprising to me,   44 00:03:43,520 --> 00:03:46,640 not to see as much cloud activity as  we've been seeing in previous years.   45 00:03:48,640 --> 00:03:52,960 The OPAL team is actually a fairly small  team, there's only three of us. But our data   46 00:03:52,960 --> 00:03:57,040 is immediately available to the public and any  other scientist that wants to use them. And so,   47 00:03:57,040 --> 00:04:03,200 we do that, as well as our own scientific  analysis. Having so much Hubble data now,   48 00:04:03,200 --> 00:04:07,520 there's just so much in there to study. And you  know, as a scientist, that's what drives us,   49 00:04:07,520 --> 00:04:12,400 is trying to solve mysteries, trying to look for  new mysteries. And so, having these long-term data   50 00:04:12,400 --> 00:04:17,920 sets, with just such rich numbers of features in  there, there's always something to go look at. And   51 00:04:17,920 --> 00:04:24,561 it's certainly going to keep us busy for years to  come, even when we're not getting any more data.