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10/26/2017 – Ephemeris – Jupiter at perihelion and 96P/Comet Machholz 1 rounds the Sun

October 26, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 26th. The Sun will rise at 8:12. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 6:39. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 11:48 this evening. | Today at 2:02 in the afternoon the planet Jupiter will be in conjunction with the Sun, moving from east to west with respect to the Sun. Leaving the evening sky to enter the morning sky. While invisible from the Earth’s surface. There are cameras recording the Sun at all times that will also pick up Jupiter. Two on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory perched a million miles sunward of the Earth. are chronagraphs, and contain disks that block out the light of the Sun creating total eclipses. The planet will pass above or north of the Sun. The easiest way to find these images is to go to spaceweather.com, go down to the link section and select Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and click on The Sun Now. The images to check out at the two LASCO images.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Jupiter snd Comet Machholz

The current LASCO C3 image at this blog’s posting time Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO.

Jupiter is about to be covered by the LASCO C3 coronagraph’s occulting disk.  It will still be visible in the C2 field.  As an extra bonus Comet 96P/Machholz entered the LASCO C3 field of view on the 25th and will exit on the 30th.

To follow Jupiter’s progress check out these animated GIFs:  https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c3.gif and https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c2.gif.

Note that these animations will be current as of the date you click on them.

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05/30/2017 – Ephemeris – Amateur astronomer detects an impact on Jupiter

May 30, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 30th.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 9:19, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:00.  The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 1:44 tomorrow morning.

Last Friday several amateur astronomers photographing Jupiter with video CCDs captured a flash in the high northern latitude of Jupiter.  Part of the reason for videos is to stack the individual images to average out the turbulence of the atmosphere they were looking through.  It’s a fantastic technique.  The flash was probably due to the impact of an asteroid.  The first objects to have been seen to crash into Jupiter were the chunks of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that crashed into Jupiter over a one week period in July of 1994.  Since then several flashes have been seen, all of them captured and confirmed by amateur astronomers.  Amateurs have also discovered storms on Saturn for the Cassini spacecraft to study.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Jupiter Impact image

Jupiter Impact alert Image annotated. Note the white spot at the top of Jupiter. Credit Sauveer Pendranghelu, Afa, Corsica, France via Damian Peach’s tweet.  Click on image to enlarge.

 

Ephemeris Extra – Amateur astronomers produce a “Journey to Jupiter” video from 1,000 images

May 14, 2017 Comments off

This is impressive!  This is on YouTube, but read the explanation from Peter Rosén’s Planetary Society post which also has the video.

NASA requests the assistance of amateur astronomers to observe and record Mars, Jupiter and Saturn to help in observing these planets.  Usually satellites are too close to see the planetary big picture.  And besides amateur astronomers outnumber planetary scientists about a gazillion to one.  They’re the ones to discover storms on these worlds and communicate heads up to either view them from satellites or hunker down as in the case of the solar-powered Opportunity rover.

Thanks to the Planetary Society for the heads up.

Frame from A Journey to Jupiter

A frame from A Journey to Jupiter showing a time-lapse of Jupiter’s rotation and how the belts and zones move at different rates. Credit: The 91 amateur astronomers provided the over 1,000 images to make this video.

05/12/2017 – Ephemeris – There will be a star party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Saturday night the 13th

May 12, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 12th.  Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 42 minutes, setting at 9:00, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:16.  The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 10:37 this evening.

Tomorrow night May 13th there will be, weather permitting a star party at  Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this time the venue is Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at Stop number 3, the Dunes Overlook.  The event starts at 9 p.m., while it’s still light out and the location can be found.  Park at Picnic Mountain, which is after Stop 2, and right before stop 3, and walk over.  The planet Jupiter and all four of its bright moons and cloud bands will be featured.  Sharp eyed observers will also be able to see the Great Red Spot.  As the sky darkens there will be a twilight talk about the wonders of the spring sky.  Near the last half hour it will be dark enough to spot some of the galaxies and globular star clusters of spring.  The star party is made possible by the rangers of the park and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter, its cloud bands, Great Red Spot and moons as it might be seen around 10 p.m. at the star party. The actual orientation will depend on the telescope used to view them. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

 

05/09/2017 – Ephemeris – Looking at Jupiter through a telescope

May 9, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 9th.  The Sun rises at 6:21.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 8:57.  The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 6:36 tomorrow morning.

The first thing one sees by turning a telescope to the planet Jupiter are it’s moons, that change position night to night.  A closer look at the planet itself will reveal that it is not exactly circular, but a bit squashed, making Jupiter fatter in the direction of the line of moons.  Jupiter has only a 3 degree axial tilt, and its four large moons orbit over Jupiter’s equator, so even though they have nearly circular orbits, appear to move back and forth in a straight line.  On the face of the planet itself appear parallel cloud bands of cream and reddish-brown.  The parallel cloud bands and the squashed appearance of the planet have the same cause.  Jupiter, though over a thousand times the Earth’s volume rotates, that is has a day, of a bit less than 10 hours.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Jupiter with its Great Red Spot

A slightly squished Jupiter with its Great Red Spot November 18, 2012 by Scott Anttila.

Overexposed Jupiter and its moons. My archival image.

Overexposed Jupiter and its moons. Note the moon that looks like a bump on the left edge of the planet.  My archival image.

04/11/2017 – Ephemeris – What’s under Jupiter’s cloud tops?

April 11, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 11th.  The Sun will rise at 7:04.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 8:22.  The Moon, at full today, will rise at 8:54 this evening.

I made an error in yesterday’s on-air program which I fixed before posting this blog version.  The moon Io will be over the face of Jupiter from when it rises tonight until 8:58 p.m.*, thereafter it will be seen just to the west of the planet.  What we see of Jupiter are its cloud tops.  Planetary astronomers have some very educated guesses as to what lies beneath them.  An atmosphere of mainly hydrogen and helium, ending in a hot liquid ocean of hydrogen.  Beneath that a core of metallic hydrogen that generates the planet’s huge magnetic field.  Below that maybe a core of solid iron and other metals.  NASA’s Juno spacecraft now orbiting Jupiter is tasked with finding out the interior structure by measuring the velocity of the spacecraft as it flies just above the cloud tops of this giant planet.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

* Observers in other locations around the world can check out the table from yesterday’s post of other Jovian satellite events after this entry is posted at 4:01 UT, April 11, 2017.

Addendum

Jupiter on two nights

Jupiter and its moons in a telescope at 10 p.m. both April 10th & 11th, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

For a year’s worth of Jovian satellite events and when the Great Red Spot crosses Jupiter’s central meridian, go to: http://www.projectpluto.com/jevent.htm.

Juno Spacecraft

The Juno spacecraft. Credit: NASA.

Jupiter's south pole

A February 2, 2017 Juno image of Jupiter’s south pole and its chaotic storm clouds. I think I have a paisley tie that looks like that. Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/John Landino.

04/10/2017 – Ephemeris – Jupiter takes over as king of the evening sky

April 10, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, April 10th.  The Sun will rise at 7:06.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 14 minutes, setting at 8:21.  The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 7:36 tomorrow morning.

By the time we see the Moon tonight it will be about 5 hours from officially being full.  However bright planet Jupiter should be easily visible about 5 moon diameters to the right and a bit above the Moon.  In a small telescope it is easy to see the disk of Jupiter, and possible see the cloud bands in the atmosphere,  due to the planet’s rapid rotation, of less than 10 hours.  Jupiter’s mass is over 300 times the Earth’s, while one could squeeze over a thousand Earth’s into its volume.  Jupiter has something like 67 satellites,  but only for are visible in small to medium telescopes.  Tonight they will be strung out all on one side of Jupiter, tomorrow night two will be on the other side of the planet, and another will be playing peek-a-boo in front of Jupiter.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

 

Jupiter on two nights

Jupiter and its moons in a telescope at 10 p.m. both April 10th & 11th, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Event Date & Time EDT Date & Time UT
Io Occultation Start 10 April 2017 10:31 p.m. 11 April 2017 2:31
Io Eclipse ends 11 April 2017 12:28 a.m. 11 April 2017 4:46
Ganymede Occultation start 11 April 2017 4:28 a.m. 11 April 2017 8:28
Ganymede Eclipse end Not visible 11 April 2017 11:02
Europa Occultation start Not visible 11 April 2017 18:44
Europa Eclipse ends Not visible 11 April 2017 21:19
Io Transit starts Not visible 11 April 2017 23:48
Io Shadow ingress Not visible 11 April 2017 23:54
Io Transit ends 11 April 2017 8:58 p.m. 12 April 2017 1:58
Io Shadow egress 11 April 2017 10:05 p.m. 12 April 2017 2:05

Where times EDT show as not visible, Jupiter is below the horizon.  Date and time UT are for observers in other locations.  UT is Universal Time, or Greenwich Mean Time.

Occultation = moon passes behind Jupiter
Eclipse = moon in Jupiter’s shadow
Transit = moon passes in front of Jupiter
Shadow = moon’s shadow is cast on the face of Jupiter