Well, they were imaged by the LRO, but it's still impressive.
These images are about 4 feet per pixel. There's 5 landing sites shown.
I guess they did not get Apollo 12 yet.
Check them out!
As the evening started, Callisto and Io were on one side of Jupter while Ganymede and Europa were on the other side. Within a span of a few hours Ganymede moved in front of Jupiter, followed by Europa, then Ganymede's shadow appeared and Europa's too. Io then moved behind Jupiter, and just after the clouds rolled in Europa and Io would have both emerged into view again, within minutes of each other, but on opposite sides of the planet. Phew! That's a lot, but it is what we observed tonight. Even better, it is also the kind of action that goes on every night and can be seen in even the smallest telescope.
Tonight, I used my Burgess 5" achromat refractor and a variety of eyepieces. The best view came through a borrowed binoviewer, which really works well on bright objects like Jupiter. The globular cluster M13 was disappointing through the binoviewer, and M17, the Swan Nebula, was really neither better nor worse. Double stars and open clusters were very nice though.
Returning to Jupiter, it appeared as an apparent 3 dimensional disk, rich in detail. The seeing started out poor, but as Jupiter rose higher in the sky the image became rock steady, and we were able to follow not just the shadows, but the moons themselves across Jupiter's face. Ganymede appeared as a large disk in front of the white equatorial zone, while Europa was visible, but barely. The shadows appeared inky black and showed considerable difference in size. Notice that although Europa was the second moon to move in front of Jupiter it was the first to move off. That is because it is closer to Jupiter than Ganymede, and moves much quicker in its orbit. While in front of Jupiter, Europa actually passed by Ganymede, like a race car on an inner track.
Every night it's something different. What will if be tomorrow? Go out and see this spectacle for yourself, now showing in the sky above you!
(All right, I'm going to give you this one rather than make you look it up yourself. On Friday night (Saturday morning) at 2:30am, Io is going to graze Europa. From our perspective here on Earth the disks will appear to actually touch! Use the highest magnification that your scope and the atmospheric seeing conditions will allow, and enjoy!)
I look forward to reading your reports here on the blog, or email them to me ( email@example.com )and I will be happy to share them.
Today's APOD is Kerry-Ann's winning photo from Starfest.
Once again she has shown us what can be done with with equipment many of us have handy.
I am so proud of our members' abilities and the awards they have received.
Well done, Kerry-Ann!
Meanwhile......... a small contingent of HAA members made the trek to Cherry Springs for their Second Annual Astronomy Festival. Like at “Twisterfest” the inclement weather played its part at Cherry Springs as well.
Although attendance was not as anticipated the weather didn't dampen the spirits or the comradery of the astronomers who attended.
It was great to meet and spend time with Dave and Guy, members from the Aurora Astronomical Society based in Ohio. Dave had his new handmade 13 inch Dob at the ready. Dave said it was a labour of love that took him all last winter. Its a beautifully crafted scope and gave some really nice views. Guy set up his two Dobs and kept everyone laughing with all his adventures.
By late Saturday afternoon the public starting arriving for some planned activites at the pavillion. The most popular by far was the bottle rocket launch. The shrieks and laughter could be heard throughout the park. Onlookers gathered to cheer them on.
As darkness fell the clouds started to roll in, but there was still plenty of opportunity for a sky tour through the sucker holes.
Optimism had led to setting up the scopes. Although sporadic, several opportunities presented itself to view the outstanding night skies Cherry Springs is known to provide. At the close of the park activites passerbyes stopped for a Galileo Moment or two.
Bino observing of the Milky Way gave stellar views.
It was great to see Maxine Harrison as she made the rounds as usual, to say hello, have a visit and give us an update on park news.
As all things must come to an end, Sunday afternoon arrived. With that, a reluctant departure, knowing in our hearts the absolute best clear sky of the weekend would be.......Sunday night.........why is that?
I have to admit that it was the most exciting Starfest we've ever attended! Thursday afternoon the field was rocked by a frightening storm that shredded trailer awnings, blasted shelters to pieces, snapped tent poles and destroyed at least one tent. In spite of all the damage, we were lucky. In nearby Durham, an F2 tornado killed a child and mangled many buildings. Even through the driving rains, we could see the black clouds passing north of us that apparently spawned that deadly twister. We had almost 2 inches of rain in less than 45 minutes. Thank goodness there is sand and gravel beneath River Place campground - the water drained quickly after the storm, leaving just a few puddles here and there.
There have been some significant changes to the campground this year. The "hill" that many of our members have camped on is gone. It has been bulldozed flat and a new road runs from the main road along behind where the hill used to be. Some new trailer sites have been added along this road, next to the tree line. Some of these trailer sites are ridiculously sloped and all but useless to anyone except perhaps a family of mountain goats. (Stay away from trailer sites #458, 459 and 460!!! ) The camp has a new, heated swimming pool which seems slightly larger than the old one. (Or maybe it just seemed larger because there were very few people in it.)
Thursday and Friday nights brought breathtaking views of the Milky Way that lasted for maybe an hour or two and then reappeared unexpectedly later in the night. This was a pleasant surprise especially considering the weather forecast! (Which essentially promised: rain, thunderstorms, drizzle and Armaggedon.)
The door prizes were spectacular - everything from cash to a new Celestron 8"SE telescope ! Steve Germann won a small telescope that will make an adorable companion to his huge 16" Lightbridge. Skye Hepburn won a Williams Optics star diagonal and stole our hearts as she gleefully accepted her prize. (What a cutie!!!!) Everyone will be relieved to know that
neither we or Bruce & Margaret won anything this year. It seems our lucky streak has ended.
We met up with old friends and made some new ones. We bought some new astro-toys. The talks were entertaining and interesting. All in all, another successful Starfest.
Well, I admit that I have no idea if it was an exciting night on Jupiter. It might have been, but if it was, nobody invited me to that party. Ah, the life of an amateur astronomer.
I can tell you that I had a pretty exciting night out at the alternate site looking at Jupiter. Along with a couple of other fine HAA members we waited for Jupiter to clear the trees so we could start observing the planet right away. There were two satellite transits in progress, as Ganymede and Europa passed in front of the giant planet. Accompanying them were their shadows, and it made a lovely sight. Ganymede's shadow was significantly larger than Europa's, which came in and out of view as Jupiter struggled through the low atmosphere. As Jupiter climbed higher, Ganymede emerged from the limb, showing a clear disk, at one point half on and half off of Jupiter's disk. The view through Jim's 8" SCT was very colourful and clear. Within an hour Europa emerged as well and shortly after that Io appeared from behind Jupiter. As the evening started Jupiter showed only one moon, Callisto, and within a couple of hours all four Galilean Satelites were visible. The fine view of the surface detail on Jupiter was also excellent, but with the activity around it, with two shadows, two transit egresses and a shadow egress, it was all we could hope for in one night. We were all just thrilled with the evening's observations.
Speaking of Galileo, Jim gave three women who emerged out of the park a 'Galileo moment' as they all enjoyed their first view through a telescope and were delighted to see Jupiter and its moons and shadows. After an evening of fishing and, uh...other acitivites best enjoyed in the wilderness, they were excitied enough with the view of Jupiter that their comments were of a nature that can't be repeated here.
Jupiter is near oposition right now and as such is visible all night. I used 'Starry Night' software to predict the satellite events and it got the timings exactly right. Other similar software or the RASC Observer's Handbook will do the same for you, so you too can enjoy this wonderful Jupiter season. I'd love to read about your Jupiter observations here on the blog, or send them to your friendly local observing director ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and I will be happy include them in a report.
Early this morning the last quarter moon slid in front of the Pleiades, rewarding any early risers with a beautiful sight. I will give a brief description of my experience here, but I hope to see other reports from around the club posted as well. It will be fun to read everyone's different experiences.
I rose around 4 and popped outside for a quick binocular view (to check the sky condition and be sure that the celestial clockwork really had brought the moon and Pleaides together. Hey, it was 4am and I was a little sleepy!). I then set up my small but mighty Orion ED80 refractor, and was immediately rewarded with a wide field view showing a bright moon and many of the brighter Pleiades. A few experimental photos (very hard to get the bright moon and faint stars in the same picture. Ok, more than hard for someone like me - impossible! Maybe someone else has better results) and a few shots of the moon itself, which provided a wealth of detail. I could count 5 terraces on the inner wall of the crater Copernicus. I was slow getting my scope up due to a set-up error on my part (remember, sleepy) so I missed the disapperance of Electra at 4:30, but I watched as others disappered behind the bright limb of the moon. I also saw Celeano just as it reappeared from behind the dark limb (just lucky, as I didn't know when it would reappear). Overall, a very worthwhile event.
I rounded out the morning, as the sky was now brightening, with some views of Venus and Mars. Although the disk of Venus looked large when compared to Mars, it was tiny Mars that showed detail on its surface. As daylight overtook the sky I returned to the moon for a last look at Copernicus. What a fun session. I look forward to hearing about your observations.
The moon is overexposed in this 10 second exposure, although the dark side shows well. The original shows more of the fainter stars.
5 Members showed up at the park on Upper Wentworth and the Linc last night. We all had a good time showing the about 60+ people(young and old) views of the Moon and Jupiter.There was still wow factor in the Moon even though it is only a day or so from full. The terminator showed lots of detail of craters and mountains. Jupiter was showing lots of detail the equitorial banding and the colours were clearly evident. Many questions were asked and answered and many (O My God's, wow's and cool's)were heard from the public.
Hopefully some of the other members will add the comments to this blog.
From John G.
You're right Jim, it sure was a lot of fun.
As the night wore on and the public left we had a good look at Jupiter.
There was a 6th magnitude star (45 Capricorni) right in line with the Galilean moons, and it gave the appearance of 5 moons. Jim was able to correctly identify which of the 5 was the imposter. Well done, Jim! You can look tonight for yourself and see 5 "moons" on one side of Jupiter.
Meanwhile, Steve K. and I were trying to identify the impact scar on Jupiter, and had a great time comparing views through our two 5" achromat refractors, and comparing the clean, bright image of Steve's orthoscopic eyepiece with the comfort and wide field of my Pentax. Both gave excellent views, and we were able to see a wealth of detail in the bands of Jupiter (including festoons and knots) and yes, we did see the impact scar in the south polar region. Unfortunately we didn't stay late enough to see the GRS come around the limb. What a fun night!
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