Jump to content


Photo

Forty Years of Jupiter Observations, 1973 - 2013

  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 ericj

ericj

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 663
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2005

Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:10 PM

Hi,

On January 8th, 2013 I set the TMB 130mm (5.1") f/9.25 refractor on an alt-mount to observe and make a sketch Jupiter. I used the Baader binocular viewer with a 1.7x corrector with magnifications of between 255x - 292x. Filters used: none, Baader Moon & Skyglow filter.

It was a partly cloudy night with a limiting magnitude of around 2.0. The seeing was variable, mostly fair but sometimes settling down to good. This made it difficult to make a completed sketch so I ended up making a rough one.

Central meridian longitudes: System I: 139.5°, System II: 191.0°.

The South Polar Region appeared gray in color, while the South Temperate Zone appeared white in color. The South Temperate Belt had a darker and wider section to it above the Great Red Spot (GRS).

The South Equatorial Belt (SEB) was red in color preceding the GRS, which was orange in color. A very large rift followed the GRS and curved up.

The Equatorial Zone appeared dusky or veiled.

The North Equatorial Belt (NEB) was red in color, but it appeared to have a more irregular outline to it than the SEB. There appeared to be rifts in the NEB. Also light blue festoons were visible along the southern edge of the NEB.

The North Tropical Zone appeared white in color, while the North Temperate Belt (NTB) was red in color. The NTB had an irregular outline.

The North Temperate Zone appeared white in color, and the North Polar Region appeared gray in color.

Callisto, Io, and Europa formed an arc along the preceding side while Ganymede was visible on the following side.

Here is a link to my Jupiter Nomenclature page that shows that shows some of the Jovian features I observed:

http://ejamison.net/...menclature.html

As I finished observing and stood up from my observing chair to stretch it dawned on me that it has been almost forty years since I made my first telescopic observation of Jupiter. My first was on August 13, 1973. At the time I was using a 60mm achromatic refractor on an alt-az mount, and tonight I was using a 130mm apo refractor on an alt-az mount. While I have owned larger aperture telescopes (20" reflector) and used them at star parties (32" reflector) I find it is easier to take notes and make sketches if I am seated at the eyepiece.

One of the biggest problems I had when I bought the 60mm achromatic refractor was lack of information. For example the local library only had a few books on astronomy, and they were for young children. They did not contain information on the constellations, deep-sky objects or how to identify the planets. So during the winter when I saw three bright stars in a row in the sky I did not know they were part of the constellation of Orion.

Also I did not know of anyone else who had an interest in astronomy, or if there was an astronomy club in area. Even if there was a club in the area there was no way for me to learn about them or get in touch with them. This is in stark contrast to today where the internet makes it much easier to learn and get in touch with others interested in hobbies such as astronomy.

So after observing the Moon and stars through the telescope I wasn't sure what to do next. Then just by chance I was flipping through a local newspaper one day and came across an almanac. It gave the times of Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise and Moonset. Also it mentioned that the bright "star" in the eastern sky following the Moon after sunset wasn't a star but rather the planet Jupiter. Also it mentioned how Jupiter had 12 moons (today it has at least 67 moons).

As it got dark I saw the bright star like object in the eastern sky following the Moon, opened the window and pointed my telescope out it to observe it. Back then I did not know that pointing a telescope out a window was not a good idea because it degrades seeing.

Still as I increased the magnification I could resolve Jupiter as a disk with three bands on it, and see the four moons nearby. The fact I could see this on a planet that was over 480 million miles away really was amazing to me.

I wanted to make a permanent record of what I saw so I picked up a piece of paper, drew a circle on it and recorded the detail. Without realizing it I had started to train my eye to see more detail. This was because each time I observed Jupiter again I made a sketch and could see more detail, even though it was the same telescope and same magnification.

Here is a collection of some of my Jupiter sketches and observing reports I have made over the years. Note it does not include numerous observing reports and sketches that I have made since 1973.

http://ejamison.net/jupiter.html

Also in 1978 I purchased a C-90, and in addition to using it for observing I started to do astrophotography. This continued when I bought a C8 in 1980, and from the early to mid-1980's I did a lot of deep-sky http://ejamison.net/...otography.html. I still observed but did not make sketches during this time.

I have sometimes wondered if my interest in astronomy would be as strong as it has been over the years if I had not read the almanac and was able to find Jupiter in the night sky. This is because not only did the almanac help me to find Jupiter it also started my interest in sketching at the eyepiece. This has helped me to see more detail over the years, and provided me with an artistic outlet. I still have that almanac as I pasted it into my first astronomy logbook.

Also being outside with a telescope under a starry sky often provides a sense of connection with nature and the cosmos. It can be a very spiritual experience.

So in a number of ways reading that almanac changed my life in a very positive manner :jump:

Clear Skies,

Eric Jamison
http://ejamison.net/


#2 Asbytec

Asbytec

    Guy in a furry hat

  • *****
  • Posts: 8089
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2007
  • Loc: La Union, PI

Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:21 PM

Same with me, 40 years ago I had a 60mm refractor. Like you, I knew of no one, except my father, who was interested in the hobby. I had a few books with scant information. One night laying in bed peeking out the window, I "discovered" the lagoon nebula, a fuzzy spot hoovering in space. The same things excite me, the scale of the universe. It's vastness and our ability to explore it.

Nice story. I think many of us can relate.

#3 starrancher

starrancher

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2960
  • Joined: 09 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Northern Arizona

Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:50 PM

:bow: :bow: :bow:
That's some awesome stuff Eric !
The nostalgia ! What a feeling !
:bow: :bow: :bow:

#4 ericj

ericj

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 663
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2005

Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:26 AM

Thanks for the kind words Norme. I am amazed these days the quality and variety of astronomical equipment that are available to amateur astronomers these days.

Best,

Eric

#5 ericj

ericj

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 663
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2005

Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:30 AM

Thanks Dave, it sometimes feels like "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away".

I had a young kid ask me once if we had phones back then !?

Best,

Eric

#6 YktwnCVS10

YktwnCVS10

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 63
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2010

Posted 15 March 2013 - 10:40 PM

Hello everyone,

This topic/thread looked like it would be the closest one I could find to the subject of my question. And it will may be a dumb question, but here goes.

I got my start in backyard astronomy back in the early 1960's and had a GREAT time with it for several years. But I got back into it on a continual basis only a few years ago. And as I thought about seeing the planets back in those years and then seeing them now, I wondered if they have always been seen at the same time every year throughout those years? Such as Jupiter: I've been observing it for the last 3 years and it has always been visible (in the evening) during the fall-winter months. Has it always been that way or was it visible in the spring or summer at some point in the past?

I appreciate anybody's input.

#7 buddyjesus

buddyjesus

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2236
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2010
  • Loc: Davison, Michigan

Posted 16 March 2013 - 02:23 AM

jupiter moves roughly one constellation per year as it has roughly a 12 earth year long jovian year.

#8 t.r.

t.r.

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4416
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2008
  • Loc: 1123,6536,5321

Posted 16 March 2013 - 11:01 AM

Nice to see you're still at it Eric. I too started in the 70's with a 40mm Afocal refractor and then the 60mm so many of us started with. I've spent many "cloudynights" reading your website.

#9 ROBERT FREE

ROBERT FREE

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 258
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2011
  • Loc: SARASOTA,FL

Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:35 PM

i started in late sixties myself with tasco refractor 4 inch an later a 6' dynascope.got me a celestron 8 from roger tuthill an started observing venus in am an pm an then daylite observations of mercury also.still view big jupe an saturn when i can. btw very nice thread here.ERICH J.

#10 ericj

ericj

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 663
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2005

Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:29 PM

Hi Tim,

Thanks and nice to see your still at it as well. The telescopes sure have changed since then.

Thanks also for the kind words about my website. I try and update when time permits.

Best,

Eric Jamison

#11 ericj

ericj

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 663
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2005

Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:37 PM

Hi Robert,

Thanks. It sounds like we owned similar scopes over the years as I had a C8 with an orange tube and a Criterion RV-6.

It's fun to look back at our observations that we made years ago.

Best,

Eric

#12 Scanning4Comets

Scanning4Comets

    Markus

  • *****
  • Posts: 13602
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 30 March 2013 - 02:11 AM

I also had a 60mm refractor, (a Tasco), when I was 19 yrs old. I didn't have anybody to show me around the sky and I found M-31 with a pair of Sears 7x50 binoculars my father had lent me. It took me about a month to find M-31 from a parking lot in the back of my apartment because I was holding the center of the Astronomy magazine the wrong way and didn't realize the sky was like a dome.

Then when I finally found M-31 I was astonished! After that, I found Jupiter and I was hooked on astronomy.

Very nice post Eric! :waytogo:

Cheers,

#13 Dean Norris

Dean Norris

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1660
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2008
  • Loc: Santa Cruz, Ca

Posted 02 April 2013 - 03:54 PM

Eric,

Thank you for sharing your story of getting started in astronomy. It brought back my memories of observing through my first scope, an inexpensive refractor. I observed from the flat top portion of the roof of our house I grew up in.
I too find observing a wonderful way to connect to nature and cosmos and often feel this spiritually as well. I'm thankful for being able to do astronomy which gives me joy.

Your TMB sounds like a fine telescope showing you great detail on the Jupiter.

Clear and steady skies. Dean

#14 ericj

ericj

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 663
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2005

Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:43 AM

Hi Markus,

Thanks for the kind words. Sounds like we had similar observing equipment and observing experiences.

Best,

Eric

#15 ericj

ericj

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 663
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2005

Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:49 AM

Hi Dean,

Thanks for the kind words. My first view of Saturn was from the roof of a back porch as it was low in the sky and there were trees that blocked the view.

The the TMB apo's work well for me.

Best,

Eric

#16 David Gray

David Gray

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 557
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Nr. Scotland.

Posted 07 April 2013 - 01:27 PM

Hi Eric,

My first view of Saturn & Jupiter was 1961 July 15 after midnight. It was one of their 20yr Great Conjunctions (I much later learned) and were near the Cap/Sgr border, declination. c.-20 deg.

As there was a row of houses in the way I had to resort to the bathroom window. Removed the 3” from its mount and with a towel wrapped round balanced it precariously on the, jammed wide-open, small upper window (frame). At first with a x25 Kelner then x80 (tricky!) Huygens. Also had to stand in the bath to reach the eyepiece.

Went to bed absolutely ecstatic, only to be brought back to Earth later at breakfast by my irate mother querying the dirty footprints in the bath!

Thats the old 3" on my avatar riding on the D-K as a finder; but still used and enjoyed as a 'scope proper in its own right.

Best, David.

#17 ericj

ericj

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 663
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2005

Posted 13 April 2013 - 11:56 AM

Hi David,

Thanks, and nice to know you are still using the first scope you ever owned.

I have owned a number of scopes over the years but often needed to sell them to buy a new one. Still there are a few I wished I had kept, if only for nostalgia reasons.

Best,

Eric

Hi Eric,

My first view of Saturn & Jupiter was 1961 July 15 after midnight. It was one of their 20yr Great Conjunctions (I much later learned) and were near the Cap/Sgr border, declination. c.-20 deg.

As there was a row of houses in the way I had to resort to the bathroom window. Removed the 3” from its mount and with a towel wrapped round balanced it precariously on the, jammed wide-open, small upper window (frame). At first with a x25 Kelner then x80 (tricky!) Huygens. Also had to stand in the bath to reach the eyepiece.

Went to bed absolutely ecstatic, only to be brought back to Earth later at breakfast by my irate mother querying the dirty footprints in the bath!

Thats the old 3" on my avatar riding on the D-K as a finder; but still used and enjoyed as a 'scope proper in its own right.

Best, David.



#18 David Gray

David Gray

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 557
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Nr. Scotland.

Posted 13 April 2013 - 02:07 PM

Hi Eric,

Attached are photos of my former Trimdon home (1955-76) that I had those first ever Jupiter/Saturn sightings from.

As sent to A.W. Heath former director of the BAA Saturn Section.

The red arrow shows the bathroom window.

The green arrow the landing window where the wind blew the net curtain across the 3" when looking at Jupiter in 1963 introducing me to apodizing!

Best, David.

Attached Files



#19 ericj

ericj

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 663
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2005

Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:35 PM

Hi David,

Cool, it can be neat to take a walk down down the old astronomy memory lane sometimes :jump:

Best,

Eric






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics