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Forty Years of Jupiter Observations, 1973 - 2013

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#1 ericj

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:24 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. 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 astrophotography
http://ejamison.net/...otography.html. So from 1978 to 1985 I still observed but did not make sketches during this time.

http://ejamison.net/jupiter.html

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 frank5817

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:41 AM

Eric,

Very nice narrative. The artistic outlook is an important one for most folks at this forum.
For quite some time now I have had that nomenclature page of yours in my bookmarks.

"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." How True.

Frank :)

#3 ericj

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:48 AM

Thanks Frank. Sometimes we don't know the implications of things that happen in our lives until years or decades later.

Glad to hear my nomenclature page helps.

"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." How True.

Yes it can be...

Best,

Eric

#4 dedo

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:17 AM

Very nice report Eric, and you have made up a very informative and interesting page with your reports.
I personally observe jupiter since many years, although only since last year I have been able to make a decent jump with the aquisition of my first refractor, and now with the TEC140 I have also started drawing the many details I can see.
I have installed winjupos on my laptop and am very familiar with the jovian nomenclature, howewer I still have not understood what System I and System II refers to. Can you point me to some specific reading?

#5 dedo

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:27 AM

I've just finished reading better your site, so it appears you have already answered my question :p
Thank you again for sharing your work.
Andrea

#6 PeterDob

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:36 AM

Your reports are truly a pleasure to read and it's very interesting to ser the evolution of your drawings and reports over the past 40 years. You're a barrel full of experience! My sincere compliments!

Peter

#7 Jef De Wit

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:57 AM

I had a random look in your Jupiter sketches. Incredible to see how the planet changes over time! :goodjob:

#8 Andrev

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:58 AM

Eric.

Wow, it's impressive all you have done. I had about the same 6" Newton with the same mount and the same 8" SCT... Fun.

Andre.

#9 ericj

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

Hi Andrea,

Thanks for the kind words. Sounds like you have a nice set up with WinJUPOS and your TEC140. I look forward to seeing your sketches and observing reports.

What telescope did you use before?

Best,

Eric

#10 ericj

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:01 PM

Hi Andrea,

Glad you found my Jupiter Nomenclature page helpful.

I have set them up also for Saturn:

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

For Mars:

http://ejamison.net/mars.html


For Venus:

http://ejamison.net/venus.html


And for Comets:

http://ejamison.net/comets.html

Hope this helps.

Best,

Eric Jamison

#11 ericj

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:10 PM

Hi Peter,

Thank you for your kind comments. I enjoy observing all celestial objects, but Jupiter and the Moon will always have special meaning for me because they were the among the first two I observed. So each time the Moon is up or the planets approach opposition again it feels like I am saying "Hi" to some old friends again.

Best,

Eric

#12 ericj

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:20 PM

Thanks Jef,

Thanks, and yes it is interesting to see how features have changed over time. In some cases I look at a sketch I made years and realize that I recorded a feature such as the Red Spot Hollow that I did not know about when I made the sketch. :foreheadslap:

Best,

Eric

#13 ericj

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:24 PM

Hi Andrev,

Thanks, and its interesting we had the same 6" Newton and the same 8" SCT. Sometimes I wish I had kept some of the scopes I have sold...

Best,

Eric

#14 azure1961p

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:50 PM

Eric I like your concept of exaggerating colors. Saturn in particular is an interesting case in point. In one illustration you have that green that I see in Hubble images and good images in the solar system imaging forum. Likewise the other showing tan brown tones and such is more in line with what I've seen e en with my 70mm but obviously not with that detail.

I appreciate your approach here.

Pete

#15 Undermidnight

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:46 AM

:waytogo: I enjoyed the article and the sketches.

Jason

#16 Special Ed

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:57 AM

Eric,

I read with pleasure your reflections on 40 years of amateur astronomy. I fully agree with you about the impact of the Internet on what for many was a solitary pursuit. Your willingness to share the benefits of your experience through your website is a valuable resource for the astronomy community.

It was quite interesting to page through your Jupiter sketches and see the dynamic nature of The King revealed in your detailed drawings. To paraphrase Heraclitus, you can't look at the same Jupiter twice. :cool:

I think more and more people are finding that sketching not only makes them better observers but also provides an important creative outlet. In addition, it can be so absorbing that one can be totally in the moment, losing one's self in the task and gaining a greater appreciation of the beauty surrounding us when we "come back". By your example, you remind us to do just that--look around and admire what surrounds us and our telescopes.

#17 ericj

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:28 PM

Hi Pete,

Thanks for the kind words. When I make a sketch using color pencils I try to match the color of the planet that I see through the scope as close as I can with the pencils that I have on hand. It is not always a good match.

So when I go to the art store I look for color pencils that seem closer to what I see, for example the yellow color of Saturn's equatorial zone. However once I get them home and try them out sometimes it still isn't as close match as I would like.

So sometimes I just use drawing pencils like H, F, 2B, etc.

Best,

Eric

#18 ericj

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

Hi Jason,

Thanks and glad you enjoyed the article and the sketches.

I enjoyed reading your webpage.

Best,

Eric

#19 ericj

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:22 PM

Thanks Michael for the kind words. It has been interesting to see how Jupiter has changed over the years.

I have enjoyed astronomy over the years and have learned a lot from others.

So I try and help others when I can, and this is one of the reasons why I set up my astronomy webpage.

Best,

Eric







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