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Jupiter: best view ever? 11/2/12 GRS and friends

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#1 george golitzin

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 03:15 PM

Last night was unpromising: thin clouds veiled the Moon and Jupiter, and I would not normally have gone out, being very tired, but I wanted to see if the Antares barlow I had received would come to focus, so I brought out my 10- and 18-inch just to check that. (Answer: 10-inch, no, 18-inch, yes, even with paracorr; it requires 1/2 inch of in-travel over the native eyepiece.) Well, I’m glad I did! In the big scope, I caught a stunning view of the planet through the clouds, and so I kept waiting for more opportunities—finally, I had a solid half hour of clear sky and steady seeing, with some prolonged moments of crystalline details. Oh my! Well, I think you all know what that’s like, but it gets me every time. The color, contrast, and fine detail was stunning--very possibly the finest views of Jupiter I’ve ever seen. As the seeing crystallized, the equatorial belt, for example, thickened from a thin line to a broad sweep, full of little details; the two halves of the SEB following the GRS had vividly contrasting colors, and intricate tiny things appeared in the turbulent wake, such as little festoon-like objects crossing the gap. I’ve gotten pretty good at sketching the planet when the seeing is mediocre, because there’s not much to it—but I’m completely inadequate at capturing the detail I saw last night—my sketch below is offered to convey something of the larger details I picked up. It was made almost entirely at the eyepiece, with minimal cleaning up afterwards.

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.

-George

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).

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#2 Tom and Beth

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 06:27 PM

NICE SKETCH and love the flowing manner of your report. Wish I could do both. You are giving me aperture fever... must.....resist.....mus...

#3 Asbytec

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:24 PM

Well, I think you all know what that’s like, but it gets me every time. The color, contrast, and fine detail was stunning--very possibly the finest views of Jupiter I’ve ever seen.


Yes. Yes, I do. Probably the best Jupiter I have seen occurred two nights ago and it was better the the previous "best ever" the night before. I get the same pleasing reaction (on a bit smaller scale.) Sometimes, you just have to let your jaw drop. In fact, I think I left my jaw out back. Gotta find it before the cats drag it off.

http://www.cloudynig...5501977/page...

Mostly my attention was on the GRS region, as you might guess...



Guilty.

George, one can only imagine your OMG moment. It's good to know you had one. Congrats. :)

#4 george golitzin

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:26 AM

Thanks Tom and Beth, for your very kind words. Good luck with the aperture fever! You know, most of the time I prefer viewing in the 10-inch--just not this night.

Norme, thanks so much--and I forgot to mention, the GRS did appear more concentrated along the southern edge, as you had mentioned in your report the other day--that was a good obs.

I'm thinking this apparition and the next couple might produce quite a few OMG moments--the planet is so well-placed for northern observers. Also, I often have best seeing in Oct/Nov (until the rains start); I wonder how much of that has to do with the thermal behavior of the reflectors--the days are often cool, with little or slow temperature changes during the evening. So anyway, it all came together and it was great.

Tonight I was out briefly with my 8, looking at the other side of the planet--two beautiful arcing festoons, quite blue, and some strange details in the NEB. The planet is fascinating in all apertures, seems to me.

--geo

#5 Asbytec

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 05:21 AM

George, your report makes my own observation that much more meaningful. Thank you for commenting on it. :jump:

So far this has been a great season for Jupiter. Surely this forum will be filled with sketches and observations.

#6 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:44 AM

Excellent sketch, thanks for the report and the view.

Rich (RLTYS)

#7 Special Ed

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:35 AM

George,

Great sketch and report with some very interesting detail.

Those few nights with excellent seeing make up for all those other nights with seeing ranging from OK to crummy.

#8 Erik Bakker

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:27 PM

Beautiful report of one of those nights George. Glad you went out observing.

#9 george golitzin

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:19 PM

Thank you everyone.

-George

#10 Dean Norris

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 04:12 PM

George,

Excellent sketch of Jupiter at high power. I see you caught the tiny dark spot near the GRS! I'm glad you had good seeing conditions.

Thanks for posting. Dean

#11 E_Look

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 06:46 PM

Another wonderful sketch with great detail!

#12 Ziggy943

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:14 PM

Great sketch.

#13 george golitzin

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:59 PM

Ziggy, Ed, and Eean, thank you all again. I've been blessed with some wonderful views lately in the 18--so nice to have jupiter high in the sky with decent seeing.

-g

#14 ericj

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 04:35 PM

Hi George,

Nice report and sketch, thanks for posting it.

Best,

Eric Jamison






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