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JUPITER 2019

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Like the next set of images immediately below, these are a record of the appearance of the Southern Hemisphere of Jupiter with the GRS activity in particular…displayed as a portion of a South Polar Projection map of the planet.

They are not a complete polar projections of the South. Hemi. Because each image is cut off without displaying the South Pole regions specifically…but still give very good examples of the activity in those regions I wished to highlight.

10th August 2019

The following 9 images represent the most recent captures we have made of Jupiter: as mentioned further below activity in the GRS (Great Red Spot) this year has attracted a lot of attention with people using the terms “blades”or “flakes” to describe what appeared to be portions of this huge storm “peeling off” – the latest professional explanations appear to refute this notion & lean towards the idea that we are actually witnessing material that is being drawn into the main body of the GRS. (see June 12th comments re the GRS further down)

Although the GRS has clearly “shrunk” over time none of the images we have captured this year gave any clear indication that this was accelerating markedly over the last few months: interested in looking at our own images where we took numerous hi-definition examples of this phenomenon, I put together a comparison immediately below.

Using 2 images almost 2 months apart & re-scaling the larger image to the same scale as the smaller one I then made an inset for better comparison…also including a suitably-scaled inset of the GRS from April 15th as well.

(on June 12th Jupiter was 46.0 arcseconds in apparent diameter, being nearer to Earth, whilst on August 10th it was further away & only 41.3 arcseconds – written as 41.3”…on April 15th it was 41.4”)

Effectively, the image details below suggest that over the nearly 4 months from April to August, very little real differences can be discerned in the overall size of the GRS…perhaps supporting the latest ideas in that aspect of the current appraisal of GRS activities.

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Part of the above investigations had me going back through all the image captures of 2019 where the GRS was on display - quite a number as it turns out! ;) - & I have arranged some of these in chronological order from the latest to the earliest immediately below.

I have not scaled the images relative to each other so you need to ignore the size differences, as some images were taken from much larger representations of the planet – to standardise the scale requires a lot more work but it is a worthwhile enterprise where quite a deal more might be gleaned from them - & also allow me to make an interesting animated sequence over that 4 month period.

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The following 7 images were all taken at Leigh Creek in the north of South Australia: the winds were very savage & it was difficult to keep Jupiter on the camera screen…but amazingly the end-results were quite outstanding in such conditions!

We were able to capture many videos (avi’s) & put together this animation showing the rotation of Jupiter over a 2 hour period: as usual this is a “reversing animation” where once the period of rotation captured from left to right is finished, the animation reverse-plays back to the start! J

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Here is an extra-large view of the GRS & surrounding area from that night’s images.

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A selection of the rest of the August 10th images of Jupiter.

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29th July 2019

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15th July 2019

One of the rare occassions this year where Jupiter’s GRS was not on display& we could see the other side of the planet..! :)

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June 20th 22nd 23rd & 25th Comparison

On 20th June we travelled to Natimuk in the West Wimmera region of Victoria to escape the constant Cloud coverage in our home state of South Australia.

This provided us with a number of nights of very good seeing where a great deal of detail in & around the GRS can be seen: furthering our own personal record of the activity that has been occurring there.

The first image below shows the results of the 4 nights we imaged Jupiter: the 3rd night (23rd June) was the poorest but still provided quite a lot of detail.

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June 20th 22nd & 25th GRS Comparison

The 3 images below concentrate on the GRS & the activity in & around this Jovian feature in close-up.

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June 25th 2019

Our last night at Natimuk produced the images below: the first is an image displayed at 125% greater than capture scale.

Then next as a set of 4 at capture scale as the RGB (colour) image & the 3 separate channels (red, green & blue) that make up the colour image.

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23rd June 2019

With the GRS “setting” (about to disappear around the right hand limb/edge of the planet’s disk) this image set from the 23rd was the poorest result from the 4 nights – but still a very satisfying image to achieve.

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22nd June 2019

Another good night with an image at 125% capture scale, then the set of 4 (colour, red, green & blue channels) & finally an animated sequence showing Jupiter rotating over a set period of time.

The blue channel image in the set of 4 (bottom right) is quite outstanding in its’ clarity & detail: this indicates how steady the atmosphere was at Natimuk…described as “very good seeing” by planetary imagers..! J

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20th June2019

The first night at Natimuk: again we see an image of Jupiter at 125% of capture scale (ie, enlarged) with a lot of detail.

Then the set of 4 images, & lastly another animated sequence: this one is made up of many more images (frames) & over a much greater timespan than the one above, resulting in a longer rotational movement & smoother appearance.

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12th June 2019

All of the images below going down to May 16th this year are focused upon the “GRS” or “Great Red Spot” of Jupiter.

This is an enormous anti-cyclonic feature that has reliably been reported as part of Jupiter’s upper (visible) atmosphere for over 300 years & perhaps is much older still. (Cassini first reported this feature in the 1600’s – ie, 17th Century)

Over the last 2 centuries it has become apparent that this feature is actually shrinking - & since the start of this current century that shrinking appears to be accelerating more!

The GRS is constrained & “spins” between 2 powerful jetstreams travelling in opposite directions (one above & one below) & often “feeds” off smaller storms that enter its influence from the North-West. (upper left in these images whereby Jupiter actually rotates from left to right)

Over the years it has also changed in hue/colour as well as shrunk: around the GRS also lies a “boundary zone” or “clearing” known as the “GRS Hollow” but lately (since April/May of this year, sections (colloquially termed “flakes” or “blades” etc) appear to have detached themselves from the actual, visual red/orange GRS itself & streamed off, creating a dark collar & noticeable “streamers” preceding & proceeding the GRS, replete with storm spots & projecting threads of darker material such that they virtually ring the planet at those latitudes.

Just exactly what is happening & what the (possible) end-results of all this activity is has become the subject of much excited conjecture amongst both professionals & amateurs alike: our own view is that whatever is occurring may be long-lasting such that major changes to the GRS & associated regions “might” occur…but alternatively this current “behaviour” might well be only transient, & regardless of any alleged shrinkage & colour changes etc, the GRS might well resume “normal service” - but it is certainly exciting to observe at present as we “wait & see”..! ;)

The images below provide some very good definition of the features concerned & we hope to be able to gather more in the coming weeks – if the prevalence of clouds & rain allow us to!

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This animated sequence of Jupiter at the scale/size we captured it at displays the GRS advancing from left to right around Jupiter, rising on the left: the GRS activity mentioned above can be well-seen here.

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7th June 2019

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6th June 2019

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22nd May 2019

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The image below features an inset with the GRS enlarged somewhat to better see this feature & the activity within/around it.

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Here we see the individual colour channels from an image of Jupiter with the GRS “front & centre.”

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16th May 2019

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In the image below & the enlarged inset we see the feature called “Oval BA” which is another large Jovian storm: there are also 2 other smaller storm spots below & to either side of it.

Oval BA was distinctly red a few years back but has gradually faded in the interim: this feature “precedes” the GRS (meaning goes before with regard to Jupiter’s rotation) & if you look at the image directly above you can just see the GRS coming into view following after Oval BA.

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22nd April 2019

On this particular night the seeing & imaging outcomes were not what we might have hoped for but we took the opportunity to make sure our captures included the major moons of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede & Callisto, also known as the Galilean Moons.

In the following animations they can be seen shuttling around Jupiter like a mini Solar System as Jupiter itself rotates. (only small part of their orbits are shown here & these animations incorporate a “reversing” aspect to give a smoother animation.

The “sulphurous” yellow hue of the darkened EQ (Equatorial) zone of Jupiter is well seen in the following images – first noticed during the 2018 pparition.

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22nd April Jupiter & Moons Animations - Slow moving animation.

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Faster moving animation.

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A “still” image.to show these moons arrangement about Jupiter at one point in time.

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15th April 2019

A rather nice image showing quite a bit of fine detail in the SEB (South Equatorial Belt) around the GRS (Great Red Spot) as well as the GRS itself.

The Galilean Moon Europa can be seen transiting Jupiter’s disk in this image.

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Jupiter Rotating Around Red Spot!

Most animations of Jupiter display the planet fixed with the everything rotating as one would expect to view it: this one takes a somewhat different approach where we fix our point of view upon the GRS to see a different type of animation!

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10th April 2019

Here the yellowish “sulphur-like” colouration of the NEB (North Equatorial Belt) is seen along with the GRS just in view & to the far right of it & down somewhat the feature known as the Oval BA – its strong red colour from years before almost now completely bleached out. The individual filter images are shown here also.

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6th April 2019

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Another image showing the turbulent clouds surrounding the GRS & an inset of that region at a larger scale to see this turbulence a bit better.

 

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2nd April 2019

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26th March 2019

Here the Oval BA is seen on the lower left of this image of Jupiter: this feature, also known as “Red Spot Junior” was formerly quite red in colour, but over the past few years has faded very considerably.

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Jupiter Animation

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4 images of Jupiter taken over a period of just over 1 hour on the same night.

 

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6th March 2019

This image shows the Galilean Moon Io (the closest moon to Jupiter) as it begins to transit (cross) Jupiter’s face – it’s shadow can be seen preceding it. The shadow always appears to “go first” in these transits when these images are taken before opposition, the Sun’s light is coming from the left at these times onto Jupiter & the moons, hence the shadow of the moon is cast to the right of the moon.

At opposition the Sun is shining directly on Jupiter & its moons for all intents & purposes so the shadow appears directly below the moon & is invisible for a very short time at opposition. Once this period has passed then the moon will proceed (go first) & the shadow will follow, the Sun now shining from the right in this view!

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23rd February 2019

Another image with the individual channels displayed below the rgb image.

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13th February 2019

An iR610nm image taken in poor seeing conditions early in this apparition: this filter allows for reasonable outcomes even if the seeing isn’t up to the standard required to deliver good rgb images.

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One of the first imaging session outcomes for 2019 – the previously mentioned (2018) yellowish colouration of the EZ  (Equatorial Zone) is very evident here.

 

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