Hello Star Gazers,
Attached is my Jupiter image taken November 2, 2011, 10:13PM.
Equipment used: Canon T2i(a) camera, 16”LX200 Meade telescope, and EOS Camera Movie-Record software. The image is a stack of 701 video frames processed in RegiStax6 and PhotoshopCS5. North is up in this image.
Jupiter is a giant planet composed mostly of gases and is thought to have a rock core. The gases are 74% hydrogen and 25% helium with small amounts of other gases in the mix. The gas is compressed by Jupiter’s strong gravity and behaves like a liquid below the cloud tops, and even acts metal-like deep in Jupiter’s
rapid rotation causes the gases to form band and stripe features seen in the
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot can be seen below center of the planet. The Great Red Spot is a huge oval-shaped hurricane on Jupiter. It is over twice the size of the Earth. We know it has been raging for at least 300 years, and probably much longer. The Red Spot rotates counterclockwise once every six Earth days, and is slightly colder and higher than the nearby swirling clouds of Jupiter.
Last year at this time Jupiter was missing one of its brown equatorial belts. The normally dark south equatorial belt was covered by lighter gases that blocked it from our view. Why this occurred is not fully understood. Although rare and unpredictable, the disappearance of the equatorial belt has happened before, and through some unknown process eventually returns. This year the south equatorial belt returned to prominence and can be seen on both sides of the Great Red Spot in this image. White swirling eddies have formed in the south equatorial belt
near the area of the Great Red Spot.
The north equatorial belt has produced many brown ovals; two dark brown ovals can be seen in this image near both limbs of Jupiter.
IO, one of Jupiter’s many moons, can be seen in the far right of the image.
Jupiter is about 500 million miles away and we see it by light reflected from the Sun. It took the light that produced this image 31 minutes to make the trip from Jupiter to the Earth.
Jupiter is high in the east after dark and is well placed for viewing in a telescope in December. Come see it at the on the grounds of .
Bowman Observatory public viewing nights are on the SECOND and FOURTH Tuesdays of the month 7 - 9:30 p.m., weather permitting.