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Wednesday Night's Jovian Events

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#1 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:07 AM

I'm posting this report from the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg's Naylor Observatory. I'm taking a warm-up break at the moment. Earlier tonight I watched Europa being eclipsed by the shadow of Jupiter through our 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain at 162 and 185x. I've always enjoyed watching eclipses of the Galilean satellites but this one was particularly interesting, since Europa was so close to the eastern limb of Jupiter when it began to disappear. Callisto was positioned far to the west of Jupiter at the time. Io was much closer to the planet. Ganymede was a greater distance to Jupiter's east. The seeing was fairly good and I could easily see 10 and perhaps 11 Jovian cloud belts and bands at 216x.

Here's the Sky & Telescope list of the Galilean satellite events for tonight:

00:20 UT, Europa enters occultation behind Jupiter.

02:50 UT, Europa exits occultation behind Jupiter.

02:52 UT, Europa enters eclipse by Jupiter's shadow.

05:28 UT, Europa exits eclipse by Jupiter's shadow.

05:42 UT, Io enters occultation behind Jupiter.

09:10 UT, Io exits eclipse by Jupiter's shadow.

The Great Red Spot transits Jupiter's central meridian at 06:05 UT.

00:00 UT equals 7:00 p.m. EST.

The event times at Centaur's site are a bit more accurate.


I've also observed quite a few deep-sky objects but the transparency isn't the best tonight and the skies at Naylor just aren't all that dark anymore.

Dave Mitsky

#2 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:02 AM

My observing report continues. I saw Europa reappear from eclipse but by then Jupiter was lower in the sky and the seeing wasn't as good. Afterwards, I continued to observe deep-sky objects. At approximately 6:00 UT (1:00 a.m. EST), I trained the 17" classical Cassegrain on Jupiter again.

Unfortunately, the seeing near the horizon was poor and I couldn't make out the Great Red Spot at the CM. Another problem was the fact that the dome shutter happened to be in a state of disrepair and I wasn't able to position it to view close to the horizon. The result was that the 17" was stopped down to a 6 or 7-inch semicircular aperture by the shutter while I was looking at Jupiter. The fact that the shutter wasn't working properly also prevented me from seeing a number of DSOs that I had planned on viewing.

Most of the deep-sky objects that I was able to see were galaxies, although there were also quite a few open clusters, some nebulae of various types, and a globular cluster, namely M3, in the mix, as well. The DSOs that I observed (at magnifications of 162, 185, 216, and/or 259x) included the Hyades (through the 5" f/5 finder scope), M3, M35, M36, M37, M38, M42, M43, M45 (through the 5"), M51, M63, M64, M65, M66, M95, M96, M97 (with and without an Orion UltraBlock narrowband filter), M105, M106, M108, NGC 1907, NGC 2158 (I could resolve a dozen or more stars at 259x, despite the less than ideal conditions), NGC 2244, NGC 2261 (one of my favorite winter objects), NGC 2264 (17" and the 5"), NGC 2392 (I had a fine view of the Eskimo Nebula), NGC 2371-2, NGC 2683 (one of the best galaxy views of the night), NGC 2903, NGC 3115, NGC 3628, NGC 4565, and NGC 5195. Some low clouds began to appear and I was a bit tired and cold so I finished the night with the fine binary star Epsilon Bo├Âtis (Izar or Pulcherrima) at 216x.

Dave Mitsky

#3 MikeBOKC



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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:07 AM

Nice report. Even after all these years I find myself going back to Jupiter every hour or so during a session to see where the moons are and what has changed in the cloud belts and locations of other surface features. It's like fast forwarding through a favorite old movie to catch specific scenes. The only thing in the sky that puts on a continuous ever-shifting show every night.

#4 drbyyz


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Posted 07 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

Excellent report. I stared out the evening yesterday with Jupiter in hopes of some good seeing. Unfortunately the atmosphere did not deliver. Was hoping to get in some work with the new TMB 8mm, but Jupiter was just a hazy blob with 2 cloud bands coming in and out of vision. This is even after very careful collimation. My 12mm fared a little better, but just not an impressive view. Oh well, calmer nights must be coming eventually, seeing here has just been miserable for almost 2 months now.

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