Mostly my attention was on the GRS region, as you might guess—I didn’t pay any real attention to the NEB or NTB, for example, except for the equatorial lumps on the NEB which gave rise to festoons: a weak one preceding the GRS, and a sharper, more concentrated one following the GRS. Later, when the planet had rotated past the point in the sketch, another was seen. So I’ll concentrate on the southern hemisphere for this report.
Well west of the GRS, the SSTB was undifferentiated from the SPR, but east (following) of the GRS, it appeared as a broad stripe well separated: a prominent oval was seen in this belt some degrees east of the GRS. The STB was faint and thin toward the western limb, and disappeared just preceding the GRS: it emerged to the east of the GRS, thickening from a knife point to a strong, broad belt toward the eastern limb. Oval BA (red jr.) was clearly seen, round and tangent to the SSTB; on its NE edge the little black storm was very clear, smaller than a transit shadow. The SEB bifurcated well in advance of the GRS: the white zone, or gap, in it continued unbroken underneath the GRS, where it was compressed into a very fine line; following the GRS, it undulated, creating several tear-shaped pools of white; in the steadiest moments, tiny festoon-like swishes crossed it; the bifurcation continued to the eastern limb. The GRS itself was well separated from the SEB, with a thin white boundary between it and the belt; it was nicely placed east of the CM when I began (as shown); I followed it for 1.5 hours. The southern portion of the belt following piled up into a sharp peak, very concentrated in color; thereafter, the color faded somewhat, compared to the equatorial half of the SEB: I have not successfully rendered this in the sketch. This southern half of the SEB also undulated in very graceful curves (not shown), both into the STZ and into the SEB bifurcation. The equatorial side of the SEB following the GRS was intensely colored--bluish compared to the peachy NEB--and very saturated compared to the rest of the belt. Again, in this wake region, I cannot describe the wealth of fine detail. Finally, the equatorial belt was faint toward the western limb, and also seemed to disappear preceding the GRS. But following the GRS, it quickly thickened: in moments of steady seeing, it appeared as a collection of clouds, rather than a “belt”: I’ve drawn just one little gap in it to try and suggest this, but the effect at the eyepiece was part of the whole jaw-dropping view.
Remarkably, I never turned on a fan: the day was cool, and the 18 was usable almost immediately. Also, I had no need for the paracorr at this power: details were still very sharp near the edge of the eyepiece: for the most part I used my 7XW without paracorr (270X), adding the paracorr later, after the sketch was done. The extra power (315X) made it a little easier to see the oval in the SSTB, for example. I had a couple of peeks in the 10-inch; most of the detail was visible there too, but I didn’t stay with the smaller scope long enough to get the ultra-fine detail. I find, as my eyes age, that I really appreciate the extra light from the large scope: the exit pupil is still 1.5 mm at 315X, so this gets me past my smaller floaters but with sufficient image scale. Plus, when the big scope delivers the goods, there’s just nothing like it.
18-inch f/4.2; 270-315X No fan. Time about midnight to 1 am PDT on 11/3/12 (UT 7:00-8:00).