Jupiter – Two Recent Views

Jupiter is well placed for viewing now and we’ve had some nice weather lately to do it.  While doing some lunar observations, I managed to get a couple of good looks at Jupiter.  After finishing my lunar observation the night of December 14th (already the 15th in Universal Time) I turned my Celestron 11” SCT to Jupiter just in time to catch its moon Europa at the edge of the disk about to begin a transit.  Europa’s round, black shadow was already near the middle of Jupiter’s disk.  I already had my wife’s laptop and Celestron Neximage 5 Solar System Camera on hand for a couple of lunar images I had taken earlier in the observing session.  The following image has north up and shows Europa’s shadow at the center of the disk on the bottom edge of the South Equatorial Belt (“SEB”).  If you look to the left of Europa’s shadow along the bottom edge of the SEB, you’ll see a bright, white dot almost at the edge of Jupiter’s disk.  That’s Europa and it’s visible because it’s bright in contrast to the limb darkening on Jupiter’s disk.  Ice covered Europa, being almost as white as a cue ball, typically disappears when it gets into the brighter parts of the disk.  You can also see some faint, blue festoons hanging down from Jupiter’s North Equatorial Belt (“NEB”) into the bright Equatorial Zone.  This image is a stack of 25 out of 255 frames processed first in Registax 6 and finished in Photoshop Elements 9.

If you were out the night of December 18th and happened to look up to the east, you would have seen Jupiter and the Moon next to each other separated by only about 4⁰ or 5⁰.  I had hoped to get additional telescopic images of the Moon and Jupiter that night.  While the night was clear at the time, the Moon and Jupiter were still fairly low and the atmosphere was unstable, making for poor seeing.  I grabbed my Olympus digital camera and took the following shot at ISO 400 for ½ second at F/3.75.  I processed it in Photoshop Elements to brighten Jupiter and to its left, Castor and Pollux, as well as dimming the overexposed Moon.


Jay Albert

December 19, 2013